EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Yo-Ho-Ho – Talk Like A Pirate Ye Lubbers

  • September 20th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

pirate-dat.jpgSunday 19 September passed with hardly a ripple of violence on the Spanish Main, though in corners of the globe groups of enthusiasts were seen, and heard, hoisting the Jolly Roger over a few jugs of rum.

“International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, it is claimed, originated not in the West Country of England, but with two young Americans playing squash, 15 years ago on September 19, and egging each other on pirate-style.

The habit spread, me hearties.

Thirteen-men-in-a-dead-man’s chest, and all that.

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.

pirate-ship-fight.jpgThe Caribbean is to blame; close to four centuries of freebooting and charisma left that indelible mark on Hollywood.

The scourge itself remains no joke.

Just this year annual losses to shipping have been estimated at $US 13-15 billion (pieces of eight!!), not to overlook painful loss of life.

jolly-roger.pngVirtually all parts of the world have had their episodes of low adventure on the high seas:

Piracy became part of life in the ancient world, persisting through the centuries in the Mediterranean, (the island of Patmos troubled by visiting brigands in the time of St John the Evangelist); the Barbary Coast of North Africa was alive with barbarous boats not much more than one century and a half ago.

The Far East equally supports a great tradition of plundering, extended in an arch from North-east China to the Indian coast, and beyond; a dark trade not surpassed (give or take some Opium Wars) until the emergence of the new China and a black-flag business for our own time — pirated CDs, DVDs and massive downloads.

Most recent activity is found in the Straits of Malacca, or extending from the sea ports of the collapsed state of Somalia, the navies of a dozen nations often able to intercept the speedboats and motorised dhows in service under the black flag, but fumbling with unorganised, unclear and unenforceable laws on the subject.

somali-pirates1.jpgEU patrols (picture) have been operating off Africa for some three years now.

International law to protect freedom of commerce at sea is actually a late arrival on  the scene, dating to the early 19th Century – when it helped to engineer a large-scale clean-up, warships of the colonial powers putting an end to buccaneer mystique for some time.

Avast, splice the main-brace, all hands athwart, Captain Bill Teach, Blackbeard, and Errol Fynn, have never left us.


See also, EUAustralia Online: “EU leaders – Australia want joint action”, 27.5.09; “Sending pirates to Davy Jones’ locker?”, 4.1.09.

Wikipedia, SF, “Piracy”., (19.9.10).

Pictures, Garneray painting – wikipedia