Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Bay is Finally Living Up To Its Name

California's pirates aren't this tuneworthy. (Credit: TUNE)

One can picture California Governor Gavin Newsom, on receiving the news of pirates raiding the San Francisco Bay, holding his head in his hands and complaining, "What next?" Because, sure as shipboard biscuits have weevils, an Oakland marina was recently raided by pirates.


The Pirate Bay is a real place!

Seafaring Californians’ vessels are being boarded and plundered at a shocking rate by a fearsome new breed of pirates. 

One marina in the Oakland Estuary in Northern California’s Bay Area has been hit by a spate of robberies where boats have been ransacked or stolen wholesale.

Thieves have taken everything from engine parts, GPS equipment and personal items, according to authorities.

One would think that this latest wrinkle in the Bay Area crime wave would Teach the city, county, and state officials a lesson or two, but, as my Brit friend would say, it's a rum old world, and it looks as though the lesson is lost on them.

Michael West said some residents who live on boats have armed themselves against the pirates, and are preparing to engage them on their own terms.

“Someone in this marina had to defend themselves with guns against the pirates,” said West, who also lives on his boat. “Everyone here has a knife, gun or sword or stick to protect themselves. We don’t bother to call the police anymore. We are going to handle it ourselves.”

Damon Taylor, who docks his sailboat at the Jack London Aquatic Center, told CBS outboard motors carry a hefty price— a small 10-horsepower engine is about $10,000 to $15,000. He said Oakland Police hasn’t been much help, so he and fellow sailors try to look after each other’s vessels.


Of course, the boat owners arrrr-ming themselves seems an obvious solution so that if they ever come aye-to-aye with a pirate, they have a better chance to protect themselves and their property.

There once was an actual Pirate Republic. In the early 1700s, there was a loose government—one might almost say, a confederacy—of pirates operating out of Nassau, the Bahamas, on New Providence Island.  (See the STARZ series Black Sails for a colorful but very, very loose depiction of those times.) The pirates there had a code of sorts; they didn't interfere with each other, and ship captains were actually elected by their crews. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island was based on some real-life characters from the Pirate Republic.

Not so the California pirates, who seem to be hooked on this new and yet old form of thievery. They are just another manifestation of the loot and scoot craze that seems to have taken over most of our major cities. The Pirate Republic arose in large part because they were out of the reach of the established forces of order of the day; the California pirates of modern times have arisen because there are no effective forces of order.


What efforts the California and Oakland authorities have undertaken would appear to be not a patch on what is required. People at his marina are seeing substantial losses in equipment and craft, costing millions of dollars. Even if some of the property was bought on sail, that's still a considerable loss. This is as opposed to the thieves, who at most pay for their own tattoos and piercings, which are rumored to be a buck-an-ear.

This seems appropriate.



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