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Piracy Today: Fighting Villainy on the High Seas

Modern piracy detailed and examined

With headlines about increasingly brazen pirates off North Africa becoming more frequent, John C. Payne, a professional marine engineer who spent 35 years aboard merchant ships and offshore oil vessels, has written "Piracy Today: Fighting Villainy on the High Seas" (2010, Sheridan House, $29.95).

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Payne documents modern piracy, which is growing despite the forces that patrol pirate-infested waters. A highlight of the book is Payne's      depiction of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and Capt. Richard Phillips' decision to give himself up as a hostage for the sake of his crew. Payne analyzes more than 100 incidents.

Modern day-piracy primarily involves commercial vessels, but Payne also chronicles the taking of cruising boats. Two appendices offer a summary of notable incidents since 2004 and advice for yachts transiting Somali waters.

This article orginally appeared in the June 2011 issue.