Pirates ahoy! A line from the script of a Hollywood cutlass-and-buried-treasure blockbuster? Not quite, especially as far as the waters off the Horn of Africa are concerned in recent years. Pirates have long held the status of romantic and daring figures in the popular imagination, thanks in no small part to novels such as Stevenson’s Treasure Island and the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn and company. More recently Johnny Depp, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame, also has a lot to answer for. However, piracy presents a serious modern day menace to the mariner.