The pirate's life: The romantic allure vs. the grim reality

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The world breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when the captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama was rescued unharmed from Somali pirates who had held him hostage for five days. But though this one prominent case is over, the crews of about twelve other ships—more than two hundred people—are still being held by Somali pirates, according to the watchdog group the International Maritime Bureau. Author and broadcaster Nick Rankin made a three-part report on pirates for the BBC last year. He joins The Takeaway with a look at the menace of piracy and its hold on our imaginations. Because despite the harsh reality of armed impoverished Somalis on lifeboats, from Pirates of the Caribbean to the Dread Pirate Roberts, Captain Hook to Treasure Island, there is something about the pirate life that captures our imagination.