Pirates have come a long way since the days of the cutlass and galleon. Now they use high-speed launches, AK47s - and they're making the South China Sea the most dangerous place in the world for shipping . . .' . . . ' Living in Singapore, Robert Stuart listened to a report on the BBC World Service of yet another hijacking of a ship in the South China Sea. The Singapore government was calling for immediate action to stamp out sea piracy once and for all. Robert Stuart's search for pirates began then and there.Think of pirates and most of us imagine a romantic figure with a missing limb and an eye-patch, wielding a cutlass and roaming the high seas murderously attacking unsuspecting ships laden with rich booty. The remote tropical coastlines and numerous scattered islands of the South China Sea around Malaysia and Indonesia are as evocative and darkly romantic as that one-time haven of piracy, the Caribbean. They are also host to one-third of the world's commercial shipping, which passes through the narrow straits of Malacca and Singapore. Hundreds of ships can be seen there at any one time, either passing through or at anchor. With little water between their valuable cargoes and t
Rob Stuart divides his time between freelance journalism and television. He is married with two daughters and lives both in Cheshire and, when possible, in mid-Wales.