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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Red Sea pirates in negotiations over an American hostage have agreed to his release - on condition that the media and the public stop imagining them with one leg and a parrot.
"We are not all called Long John this or Black beard that. My name is Colin, I still have both my legs and there's no sign of a bird of paradise hanging off me," their ringleader told us. "I certainly haven't got a bottle of rum, and nor would I be saying yo-ho-ho if I did. I'm a recovering alcoholic for your information, thank you very much."
The new breed of pirates terrorising the high seas are becoming increasingly annoyed with the stereotypes that persist of them as red faced sea dogs, dressed in tunics and drinking each other's piss. Pirating has a much more sophisticated profile these days according to Sebastian Simms, a former hedge fund manager who made the switch to piracy after losing his job last year.
He told us: "It's actually very relaxed and peaceful now. There are lots of finance workers joining the crew everyday, and you don't see any walking the plank or slitting of gizzards - times have moved on. Many see it as a career change opportunity with travel, tax free earnings and the odd bit of forced romance thrown in."
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama is holding back from ordering the federal government to change their official view of piracy. Sasha and Malia are thought to be huge fans of Disney's Pirates of Caribbean films and he is not keen to shatter their image of wild, hairy men doing battle with 3 headed serpents on the edge of the world unless absolutely necessary.