Over the past few years, piracy has once again the scourge of the high seas. Throughout 2008, close to 90 ships were seized in the Gulf of Aden alone and, in many cases, the pirates were paid million-dollar ransoms to release them. What is the reason for this modern-day phenomenon and just who are the men behind it?What started as a patrol to combat commercial plundering of Somali fish stocks has now grown into a highly organised and lucrative business. In a war-torn country, the pirates have brought hope and entire villages depend on the wealth that they bring in - they have even been likened to Robin Hood. But these modern-day buccaneers should not be romanticised - their attacks are becoming more violent and they are increasingly in possession of automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.In this fascinating book, Nigel Cawthorne examines how a phenomenon thought to be consigned to history is once again a worldwide problem: piracy is rife in the South China Sea and has returned to the Caribbean and South America. The author also looks at attacks that have taken place in the Malacca Straits and the fate of the couple making a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world by yacht. Plus, he questions how the international community and its peace-keeping forces can try to bring stability and security back to the oceans of the world.