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Amid a Pandemic, the Jolly Roger Flies High

Rocky Weitz speaks with U.S. News & World Report about the state of maritime piracy during a global pandemic.

LATE AT NIGHT IN THE Singapore Strait, the five men quietly pulled their small speedboat alongside the bulk cargo vessel Vega Aquarius and climbed aboard the much larger ship. The men, armed with knives, were noticed by an on-duty crewman while they were on the stern of the deck.

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"We have seen an increase in piracy on a global basis and you can tie it to the pandemic," says Rockford Weitz, director of the maritime studies program at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. "When the global economy suffers a downturn you generally see an uptick in piracy. We see impoverished people who are really worried about getting food on the table and who will take chances to feed their families."

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