So pirates still exist. I was on a ship a while ago transiting the Red Sea and along the coast of Somalia (the coast of Somalia often holds the title for the worst pirate waters in the world). We carried four Nepalese Ghirka Guards armed with shot guns and an M-14, they were a pretty jovial bunch of guys and hung out at our BBQ's, drank beer, etc with us when we weren't in dangerous waters. When we were anywhere near Somalia they stood watch on the bridge wings, 6 hours on 6 hours off, one on each bridge wing round the clock for about a week. We had a night vision scope and ordinary binoculars.
The third mate thinks a boat started to follow us and he thinks they were pirates. I'm a little reluctant to say that it was real, but I also had a boat change course and close in on us while trying to get friendly on the radio - asking questions about where we were going, how many people were aboard etc. Due to our location I wasn't totally forthcoming about the fact that there were only 15 crew on this ship (10 less than many ships I work on) but I did volunteer that we had four armed guards, and said that I hoped the little boat that I was talking to (looked like a fishing boat to me, but then pirates don't have a particular type of boat with a slightly effeminate Johnny Depp dancing around on them) was being careful since there are pirates out here.
Later on that trip we transited the Malacca Straits, past Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. That area has traditionally been pretty rampant with pirates too, though lately the Singapore Navy has been patrolling the area trying to get it under control. They have had some success.
Did you catch that? They took the second mate! I'm locking my door at night.
Don't worry; there aren't many pirates in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean.