It’s a Privateer’s Life for Me
I know what you’re thinking: “Jordan, you’re a lovable, swashbuckling, sort of scamp; why aren’t you a pirate?”
And that’s a good question. The answer is simple: I have a healthy respect for the law, and piracy is illegal— has been for some time. Barring a mild dalliance with Napster in my youth, and maybe one or two other, very nominal movie and music transgressions, I don’t engage in that sort of tosh. Besides, piracy was a lot more interesting back in the day: sailing the high seas, roaming about, and looking for a hapless ship to plunder.
But in the 20th (and now 21st) century, the reality of piracy is very different. What once conjured images of swashbuckling buccaneers armed with a cutlass and Johnny Depp’s pre-divorce charm is nowadays some nerd in his mom’s basement, nicking Jay-Z songs and poorly recorded camcorder-shot copies of an Avengers movie that’s still in theaters. Or, a group of heavily armed and surly looking goons in speed boats who get shot by Navy SEALs off the coast of Somalia. Either way, nothing anyone reading this blog has any aspirations to be. The romantic allure of piracy is a relic of a bygone era, never to see the light of modern day.
Or… is it?
Well, luckily for us, that might be about to change. You see, as I write this blog, Russia’s “totally not an invasion” / special military operation in Ukraine is nearing it’s sixth week, and it isn’t going as well as Tsar, I mean, Premier, nope, I mean “President” Putin might have liked. In fact, between watching Ukrainian civilians trolling the Russian military on TikTok and seeing a former comedian turned national leader taking an AK to the streets to defend his country, it has certainly showed an astonishing amount of ineptitude from the once feared armed forces of the Soviet Union Russian Federation. One must wonder: how long until the oligarch powerbrokers in Russia decide enough is enough, and that, perhaps, it might be time for an internal regime change?
As we speak, Russia is getting hit with more international sanctions than Iran, North Korea, and the (pre-name change) Washington Commanders— combined. Among the fallout from these sanctions is the seizing of entire fleets of superyachts owned by countless Russian Oligarchs, almost all of them worth over $100 million. Evidently, at least before last month, it paid to be an Oligarch.
However, Russia’s insistence on creating (yet another) ground war in Europe has left us with an opportunity. Allow me to introduce you to House Bill 6869. Which, put simply, allows President Biden to issue Letters of Marque allowing private citizens to seize the assets (specifically of the aquatic variety) of Russian Oligarchs.
My friends, welcome to the modern age of the privateer.
You see, in the 18th century, when certain pirates got to be too much of a handful, governments would give them a Letter of Marque. This allowed them to “legally” pirate ships as long as they belonged to someone the issuing government didn’t like. They got a fancy letter and a snazzy new name— privateer. I actually had this idea while I was reading about all these superyachts that needed seizing earlier in the week. When I went looking for a place where I might get myself a Letter of Marque, I discovered that a U.S. congressman was already on top of that.
Think about it: all we need is a ship, a few guns, and a crew. We could be Privateers for the Crown, sailing the high seas and commandeering superyachts of corrupt Russian businesspeople. It’s really not as hard as you might think; even a cursory glance at Google yielded several good options for a ship, like this one. Might not be much to look at, but she seems scrappy. She was previously a British naval tender, so we know she has a good pedigree. Or this one, which seems faster. With that bow gate, I could conduct some top-notch boarding operations when commandeering my enemies’ vessels.
No matter what ship we get, I even have the perfect name: The High Seize (see what I did there?)
The next step will be roping together some muscle, and I am willing to accept volunteers. If anyone is interested in enforcing sanctions on Russia, state sponsored piracy, or just wants to take a cruise without the expenses, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘It’s a Privateer’s Life for Me.’
And don’t worry. Once this dustup in the Ukraine is over, it isn’t like we will be out of a job. Think of how much good we can do by seizing Iranian vessels that are smuggling oil around the embargo. Then there is North Korea; they are constantly dodging sanctions, too. Honestly, the possibilities are limitless, and we can be at the ground floor of this opportunity.
Sometimes, my genius… it’s terrifying.