But the reality is very different.
And one man who knows this better than most is Commander Simon Huntington, HMS Chatham's commanding officer.
"The piracy we are dealing with bears no resemblance to the romantic impressions people may have of swashbuckling pirates," he said from HMS Chatham...
"HMS Chatham is working to combat acts of violent crime conducted indiscriminately on the high seas.
"The threat posed by Somali pirates is very real and is a serious concern for all seafarers in the region, none of whom are completely safe from pirate attack.
"Indeed, the pirates have even attacked warships at night, mistaking them for unarmed merchant vessels.
"In every case the pirates use violence or the threat of violence in an attempt to force their way onto their target vessel and then to overpower and subdue the crew. ...
- Full article from thisisplymouth.co.uk: Combating piracy on high seas
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