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Queen Elizabeth I knighting privateer Sir Francis Drake.
[T]he Admiral - gods bless her soul - has outlawed piracy in Limsa Lominsa. So why do ye think there are still so many soddin' pirates in this town? I'll tell ye why: it's 'cause there's still one way for 'em to loot an' pillage without incurrin' the wrath of the law. All ye need to do is apply to serve the thalassocracy as a "certified privateer". A captain with a privateer's license is free to terrorize the seas till the aldgoats come home... so long as he only targets vessels what belong to the Garlean Empire.
Jacke of the Rogues' Guild aptly describes the concept, Final Fantasy XIV

A privateer was a private person or private warship authorized by a nation's government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. Privateers were only entitled by their state to attack and rob enemy vessels during wartime and only ships of the country named in the letter of marque. Privateers were part of naval warfare of some nations from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The crew of a privateer, if captured, might be treated as legitimate prisoners of war by the enemy nation, but they also ran the risk of being treated as common pirates. The costs of commissioning privateers was borne by investors hoping to gain a significant return from prize money earned from enemy merchants.

Often used to allow the pirate atmosphere without some of the… less civilized parts. Turning into a real pirate was a recurring problem with privateers. Of course, one nation's "privateer" is often another nation's "pirate". Sometimes the same nation would even issue letters of marque when fighting a powerful navy they couldn't match in conventional warfare, then turn right around and denounce it as an illegitimate tactic when they were up against less powerful nations. Indeed, until the eighteenth century the distinction wasn't formalized in international law, and any ship with enough muscle could go a-rovin on a whim however respectable it was in port. It was also common for an Intrepid Merchant to moonlight as a privateer. After all, all that was needed was a paper, and one could have the object of profiting by Plunder as well as being the subject of it.

Compare and contrast with Private Military Contractors. Do not confuse with Wing Commander: Privateer, a Spin-Off of the Wing Commander games.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • At the beginning of Bodacious Space Pirates, Marika Kato inherits her father's Letter of Marque and command of the Bentenmaru, one of seven privateers commissioned in a (mostly failed) war of independence. Why the ruling Empire that conquered both parties of that war continues to honour the letter is never made entirely clear, but the Bentenmaru seems to operate mostly as a cargo vessel that occasionally "raids" passenger liners as a form of entertainment.
  • The Space Pirates operating from the ship Megafauna in Gundam: Reconguista in G are actually members of the Amerian military. The reason they're operating as "pirates" is so that the advanced tech they're testing can't be traced back to Ameria.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers has a couple of strips which detail the story of England's privateers. Basically, England found a few pirates that were causing him trouble, and told them to "go beat up that Spain guy". They did, allowing England to get the upper hand over Spain. Whenever Spain complained to England, he would just apologize and say that the pirates were causing him trouble, too. That is, until Spain went over to England's house and saw him giving medals to the privateers. Whoops.
  • One Piece: The Seven Warlords of the Sea are seven powerful pirates who've had their bounties canceled in exchange for working autonomously on the World Government's behalf. They're notoriously hard to control, and some, like Crocodile, are/were actively working against the World Government behind its back. Word of God notes that the Warlords are indeed based off the privateers, and a few, notably Bartholomew Kuma, are inspired directly from them... if in name only.
    • Following the Time Skip, Buggy the Clown has started an organization called the Pirate Temp Agency, whose member crews and warriors are allowed to pillage and plunder for the highest bidder. It's legal because Buggy became a Warlord, providing him with Ultimate Job Security.
    • Following the Revelry, the Warlords were officially disbanded, resulting in the five remaining members at the time becoming wanted pirates and enemies to the World Government once again.

    Comic Books 
  • In CrossGen's El Cazador, Lady Sin's first minor adversary is the English privateer Redhand Harry.
  • In The DCU, the Black Pirate was a 16th-century costumed privateer working for the English against the Spanish.
  • Tess Bannister from the comic strip "Pirate Hearts" (set during the War of 1812) that ran in Penthouse Men's Adventure Comix.
  • "The Crew of the Alexandria" in Victorian Secret: Girls of Steampunk features an all-female crew of submarine privateers.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana's crew of revolutionaries fighting the Sangtee Empire mostly acts like and are labeled as Space Pirates. Once they achieve their goal of forcing the Empire to legitimize female citizens and cease enslaving non-kreel peoples within the Empire for their gender the Emperor legitimizes the remaining members as privateers working for the Empire.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge, after the attempted attack on Canterlot gets derailed thanks to a Curb-Stomp Battle by Xenilla's doing, Commander Tempest, Grubber, and the yeti crew decide to pull a Heel–Face Turn once the restorations are done and got legit as privateers instead of raiders or pirates.
  • In The Butcher Bird, the pirate alliance known as The Wild Hunt eventually evolves into a privateering organization that incorporates both this trope and more straightforward contracts as Private Military Contractors.
  • In This Bites!, the Navy hires a fleet of privateers to form a blockade around the Shabaody Archipelago to keep the Supernovas and other pirate crews away from the entrance to the New World. Pirates almost universally look down on privateers as the World Government's lap dogs, worse and lower than the Navy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Anne of the Indies, Pierre was a privateer before joining Anne's crew and becoming 'an honest buccaneer'. He is still a privateer and is undertaking a secret mission for the British in order to regain his captured ship.
  • The hero of the 1952 movie The Golden Hawk is a privateer.
  • The enemy ship pursued by the crew of the Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a French privateer.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Lord Cutler Beckett offers pirate Jack Sparrow a Letter of Marque in exchange for his compass. In a deleted scene, after Norrington delivers Davy Jones' heart to Cutler Beckett, he inquires if he's won commission as a privateer. Beckett had spent most of the film hunting for the compass so he could use it to find the heart. But Norrington just delivered to him his ultimate prize, saving him time and resources. So impressed, Beckett says no... but instead fully reinstates Norrington into the Royal Navy and as a bonus, promotes him to Admiral.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Sparrow's former first mate Barbossa has himself become a privateer for Great Britain, even personally serving King George II. Though once Barbossa mortally wounded Blackbeard and took his ship, he tears up his Letter of Marque and returns to piracy.
  • The Sea Hawk stars Errol Flynn as an English privateer who defends his nation's interests on the eve of the Spanish Armada.

  • In the Aubrey-Maturin series, numerous privateers are encountered, and for a time Captain Aubrey himself becomes a privateer captain (though he much prefers the term "private man-of-war" or "letter of marque.")
  • The pirate space ship Bentenmaru in Bodacious Space Pirates is operating under a letter of marque given to it during space wars.
  • One of the "nanofics" collected in The Core War and Other Stories is a letter of marque issued by the Empire of the Star, followed by a brief commentary on the armed merchant ship to whom that specific letter had been issued to.
  • One of the reasons ringels are known for piracy in the Hayven Celestia universe is that their King-in-exile funds privateers to harass the Krakun Empire.
  • The Grisha Trilogy has Sturmhond, a mysterious Ravkan privateer who uses his own fleet of ships to attack and steal from Ravka's enemies. He always gets very annoyed when people call him a pirate instead of a privateer. In the second book he gets hired by the Darkling (who is trying to overtrow the Ravkan king) to help him hunt a mythological monster that he hopes would give him more power. However after they found and killed the monster, Sturmhond betrays him. He steals the dragon, shoots the Darkling and frees his prisoners. It turns out that Sturmhond was actually prince Nikolai and he was not happy with the Darkling trying to overtrow his father.
  • Mentioned occasionally in the Honor Harrington books. The majority of them seem to be outright pirates using a Letter of Marque as a shield to protect themselves if captured, particularly in poorly policed places like the Silesian Confederation, but more respectable ones turn up occasionally.
    • A Havenite plot for an attack on the Manticoran base at Sidemore Station is discovered by a Silesian-flagged privateer ship commanded by a retired Manticoran officer, who happens to be one of Honor's old mentors. He spots a Havenite destroyer poking around (this was during a truce, and Silesia was theoretically neutral territory anyways) and shadows it far enough to realize it had friends before the destroyer discovers them and confronts them. Afterwards, he points out that he had no legitimate reason to do that, since his ship should have been neutral due to its Silesian sponsorship, but his Silesian crew voiced no complaints on the issue.
  • Horatio Hornblower, a British Royal Navy officer created by C.S. Forester, had numerous encounters with privateers over the 11-novel span of his career.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium, Curtis Van Curtis, the second most powerful man in the Human Empire, used to be a privateer during the Vague War. Thousands of these were given small one-manned raider vessels to go after humanity's enemies (which was everyone at the time). Arguably, they did more damage to the enemy than the regular forces.
  • The Corsairs of Umbar in The Lord of the Rings are a sea-sealing tribe from the most southern parts of Harad who during the War of the Ring get hired by Sauron to raid the coastal cities of Gondor, as well as provide Mordor reinforcements during the siege of Minas Tirith. One of the turning points of the war is when Aragorn and his friends raids the Corsairs, hijacks their ships and uses them to provide reinforcements to the Gondorian and Rohanian defenders instead to their attackers.
  • In one of the New Jedi Order novels, Han and Talon Karrde go on a series of raids against Vong-allied shipping transporting supplies and captives. He mentions to one aggrieved captain that since he's only targeting the Vong, he's a privateer, not a pirate. (Technically he's not, since nobody in the New Republic authorized it.)
  • Privateering is a major focus of Michael Crichton's novel Pirate Latitudes. One character gets swiftly punished for mixing it up with common piracy.
  • Captain Gian Harlowe in The Priory of the Orange Tree is a privateer in service to the Inysh throne, not a pirate. Even though his crew is made up of cast-offs, exiles, and other misfits. It's implied that he got this position due to being the rumored paramour of the late Queen Rosarian (and, maybe, the father of the current queen). He enjoys the freedom of royal favor and sometimes carries out state tasks, but he is also kept very far from the throne by the nature of his work.
  • In the Safehold series Charis commissions dozens if not hundreds of privateers and sends them out to systematically destroy the shipping of every other nation on the planet in retaliation for their participating in the Group of Four's undeclared war against Charis.
  • Alucard Emmery from Shades of Magic. Alucard was born into a powerful noble family, but after an intense argument he decided to run away from his abusive father. Since he had no money, he decided to become a pirate. This went great for a while, but he was eventually arrested and thrown in prison. Because of his influental family the king decided to free him and offer him a job as privateer.
  • In James Clavell's Shogun, pilot John Blackthorne (based on the real life English navigator William Adams) was a privateer.
  • In his book The Star Fox, science fiction writer Poul Anderson depicts a future in which the system of Letters of Marque has been revived and "space privateers" battle in starships.
  • In Temeraire, Lawrence and Temeraire consider becoming aerial privateers when Reassigned to Antarctica in the Australian colony. Lawrence notes that Napoleon's merchant marine wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell against a privateer guiding a heavy-weight dragon.
  • Under the Jolly Rodger from the Bloody Jack series has Jacky as a privateer.
  • Ky Vatta in Vatta's War is a privateer in Space, fighting pirates who are trying to conquer the galaxy.
  • Wearing the Cape: A bizarre modern version. In Repercussions, after Astra has been given an honorable discharge for defying orders to save a foreign country from a supervillain attack, America discovers the identity and location of the perpetrators. The president issues Astra a Letter of Marque to hunt them down and bring them in, giving America plausible deniability over the fact that they're hiding in a foreign nation; it's only not an act of war by the slimmest of technicalities. Shell specifically points out that while Letters of Marque are still legal, they fell out of favor on the world stage in the 1800's, and America hasn't issued any since the War of 1812.
    Shell: This will probably be the last one we ever see. Or, who knows, maybe they'll become common again.
  • In The Witchlands, the Foxes are corsairs in service of the Nubrevnan crown, hunting down ships carrying food supplies, as nobody's willing to trade with Nubrevna.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the characters in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World reluctantly reveals that an ancestor of his was a privateer. A female companion makes fun of him, automatically assuming this means "pirate." The character insists on "privateer," as the letter of marque means the ancestor served the crown.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Breen were known to support privateering. In 2369, USS Minnesota was destroyed battling Breen privateers. (Star Trek: Minnesota: "Scream"). In 2366, the Breen attacked and captured the Cardassian vessel Ravinok, using its crew as slave labour in the dilithium mines on Dozaria. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Indiscretion")
    • In the Mirror Universe, Benjamin Sisko worked as a privateer for Intendant Kira until, with Prime!Kira's encouragement, he basically started the Terran Rebellion because he was bored of the job. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Crossover")
  • In The West Wing, first lady Abbey Bartlet's status as a "daughter of the American revolution" is contested, as her "revolutionary" ancestor was in fact a privateer helping the revolutionaries for money. She's very insistent that he was a privateer, and not a pirate.

  • The narrator of "The Mariner's Revenge Song" by The Decemberists mentions shipping out with a privateer in search of the man upon whom he seeks revenge.
  • "Privateering", song and album by Mark Knopfler.
  • "Barrett's Privateers" by Stan Rogers, about an ill-fated British privateer crew during the American Revolution. "A letter of marque came from the king to the scummiest vessel I'd ever seen", and it all goes downhill from there.

  • Two American universities use Privateers as their sports nickname: University of New Orleans and State University of New York Maritime College.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Crimson Skies universe features bands of aerial privateers who have been awarded letters of marque by the new nations of North America to reward loyalty and direct piracy against that nation's enemies.
  • In the D&D campaign setting Eberron Breland hired privateers during the Last War. But now that the war's over letters of marque have been repurposed as Adventurer Archaeologist licenses.
  • 1st Edition Ironclaw's sourcebook for House Bisclavret had privateers as a playable career.
    • Captain Salvatore, a main character of one of the novels, Dream Carver, is a privateer serving a minor Bisclavret baron for the opportunity to take revenge on House Rinaldi for the deaths of his wife and son.
  • Found in Traveller. Like everything else.
    • The Third Imperium officially reserves to itself the right to issue letters of Marque and only occasionally issues them. Member substates and power blocks sometimes hire space mercenaries but these are not supposed to depend on plunder for their upkeep. When exactly that rule is violated is rather blurry. It probably depends on what the local Imperial Noble considers appropriate to the interests of the Imperium and/or himself.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Rogue Traders are half privateers, half Intrepid Merchants. They have actual letters of marque, some of which are hereditary, which give them free rein to conquer, exploit and loot any ship or planet they cross paths with as long as Imperial shipping, planets and interests are respected. These letters of marque are incredibly valuable and can date their origins back thousands of years, with some having clauses restricting the owner to certain sectors or putting them in the service of certain organisations or noble houses. Rogue Traders often have entire fleets and armies at their disposal, and unlike many in the Imperium they are not persecuted for interactions with Xenos in order to achieve the wider Imperium's goals.
    • Orks and kroot have been known to have been hired as mercenaries by individuals such as inquisitors or planetary governors wanting a deniable attack force. The orks in particular will cheerfully turn on their employer if said employer is stupid enough to expect them to take their payment (usually guns) and piss off.
    • Dark Eldar have been known to act as mercenaries as well. Anyone stupid enough to hire them and not expect to get backstabbed honestly deserves to spend eternity getting tortured.

    Video Games 
  • Edward Kenway of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag started out as a privateer for England, but quickly turned pirate when peace broke out.
    • His grandson,Connor Kenway of Assassin's Creed III, also worked as a privateer on occasions on the side of the Colonies during the American Revolution.
  • In the second Broken Sword game, two NPCs are the descendants of a privateer (not a pirate) who claim he was falsely accused of acting without the correct papers by a governor and hung in order to get at his fortune.
  • It's one of the units in games like Civilization. In some of them (like Civilization 3), the Privateer unit has a hidden nationality, meaning you can attack without the victim knowing who's responsible. In Civilization V, Privateers no longer have this ability and are instead good coastal city raiders who also have a chance to capture enemy units they would otherwise sink.
  • In Colonization it's the only way to attack without starting a full-on war, but in return all forts bombard on sight unidentified (not their own) Privateers just like enemy ships.
  • Far Cry 3 makes a point of repeatedly calling the mooks in the second half of the game this. But they don't seem to have any kind of agreement from any government, and far from hunting the "pirates" from the first half of the game, they seem to be aligned with them, and engage in exactly identical behaviour of kidnapping locals and selling them as slaves, making them a unique inversion of pirates who don't do anything. It's not clear if the developers didn't understand what a privateer is, or the word is meant to be an in-universe euphemism, or if the developers just decided to misuse it because they thought it sounded cool.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the city-state of Limsa Lominsa was founded as a pirate haven but has since reformed into a more legitimate port city, outlawing piracy in the process. Many bands of pirates nonetheless carry on their trade, now with legal sanction, against ships of the Garlean Empire. Most notable is Captain Carvellain, who always refers to any goods confiscated from Garlean vessels as "spices" no matter what it actually is.
  • Unlike the other Covenant races in Halo, the Kig-Yar (Jackals) are not officially a part of it. Instead, they're paid mercenaries who have to at least pretend to believe in the holiness of the Forerunners. They operate their own ships and are allowed to raid non-Covenant ships and colonies.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: Briggs and his family. Hailing from Champa, he may not have an official authorization to plunder but the elders of the village condone his raids due to dire circumstances Champa is suffering from: surrounded by mountains that makes farming impossible, the settlement relied on fishing... until the the warming of the ocean's waters made this food source scarce. Without money to buy supplies, the town fell to famine and poverty. Briggs's earnings as a pirate became the only income Champa had. In Dark Dawn, the changes brought by the events of the previous game caused the soil surroundings the village to become fertile but the inhabitants forgot how to raise crops so the place still relies on piracy. Briggs became the somewhat reluctant king of the town note  and his son, Eoleo, became a feared pirate in his own right, and is referred to as a prince.
  • The Danish computer game Kaptajn Kaper i Kattegat (Captain Kaper in Kattegat) was made in the early 1980s and centers on a Danish privateer attacking British ships in Danish waters.
  • Mass Effect universe has the Corsairs, a secret branch of Alliance Marines who act as independent groups outside of Alliance space. While not exactly pirates, their duties may include piracy, in addition to other black ops, and the Alliance can disavow any knowledge of them if they are caught. Jacob Taylor from the second game is an ex-Corsair.
  • The MMORPG Pirates of the Burning Sea, features the Privateer as one of the career (character class) choices for a player who chooses to represent one of the three player nations: Britain, France, or Spain.
  • In theory, you start out as one of these in Sid Meier's Pirates!. Doesn't stop you from potentially turning against your employers, though.
    • You can actually get letters of marque from all four nations, making you a privateer of all of them.
  • A light-sided Smuggler in Star Wars: The Old Republic is essentially this, attacking the Empire exclusivly.
  • In the Romulan Republic storyline in Star Trek Online, Empress Sela of the Romulan Star Empire starts hiring outsiders as privateers to destroy Republic ships. These include the Cardassian guerrillas known as the True Way.
  • Stellaris has "privateers" that represent the remnants of a destroyed empire's navy in the base game, wandering space and attacking whoever comes close. The Apocalypse DLC replaces them with Marauders.
    • The Nemesis DLC adds more "traditional" privateers which empires can supply with untraceable weapons. Said privateers are nothing more than regular Space Pirates with an outside benefactor supplying them weapons to serve as a distraction and are hostile to everyone, just like regular pirates...
  • One of the six protagonists in Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is a British privateer in charge of decimating the Spanish Armada.
  • In Vega Strike the Faction of Player Character's ship is plainly called so. As in, "anyone not affiliated with any legitimate faction nor branded pirate yet". And yes, there are defence and hit missions — against pirates and whatever factions trouble locals.
  • The governments of the Commonwealth in the X-Universe offer "police licenses", which act like letters of marque. You're paid a preset bounty for destroying Space Pirates, Xenon, and Kha'ak, and destroying neutrals or allies costs you the license.

    Web Comics 
  • The crew of 70-Seas are privateers for the Imperial Republic of Fra.
  • Crimson Dark: Vaegyr Ward is quite insistent that he's a privateer, not a pirate.
  • Girl Genius: The crew of the Mopey Tortoise insists that despite appearances, behavior and the way they talk they are a legitimate crew who just happens to be proud of their pirate heritage. They are eventually confirmed to be official English Privateers.
  • In S.S.D.D. "Barrett's Privateers" is the unofficial drinking song of the CORE marines, an international force that started out as (and arguably still are) Private Military Contractors.
  • Unsounded: Regina Flask is a privateer in the employ of Cresce, hunting down Aldish trading ships.

    Real Life 
  • Sir Francis Drake. So good at his job, he was knighted.
  • Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was one of the most famous privateers. (Made all the more famous in modern times as a brand of rum...) He really pushed the limits of what a privateer was allowed to do, though. Of special note is him leading the assaults on Porto Bello and Panama City, the 3rd and 2nd largest cities in New World Spain at the time (this by the way is what got him knighted made Lt. Governor of Jamaica).
    • Notably, Panama City was considered unassailable by the Caribbean pirates because it was on the Pacific side, instead of the Atlantic side. Any pirate trying to attack would have to cross the Cape Horn of southern South America, making it a losing proposition. Henry Morgan landed his ships "near" Panama City, directed his pirates to march through the intense, deadly, unforgiving equatorial jungle, and attack the city by land. Panama City had numerous defenders. Henry Morgan won anyway, sacked the city, and marched all the valuables back to his ship.
    King Charles II: The Spanish tell me you're a pirate.
    Morgan: They would say that, wouldn't they? They never liked the English.
  • William "Captain" Kidd was also a privateer, but was later branded a pirate (by an angry British naval officer when he fled rather than allowing most of his crew to be pressed into British naval service) and hanged.
  • Jean Lafitte was another famous pirate and privateer who fought for the US during the War of 1812. (During his lifetime, he fought as a privateer under a number of flags; a true pirate, his allegiances were all over the map.) Until then he had operated what was basically a private empire with a fleet bigger than the US Navy.note 
  • Hayreddin Barbarossa and the other Barbary Pirates were, for a while, technically privateers for the Ottoman Empire. Generally quite successful, many Europeans fled to Algiers and Tripoli to join them. It wasn't until the mid 19th century that they were stamped out, though by then their power had decreased dramatically.
  • The Spaniards had Amaro Rodríguez, best known as Amargo Pargo, a merchant and privateer considered the Spanish version of Francis Drake. He became filthy rich, even although he was also constantly doing charity works around Andalusia and the Canarian Islands, and was eventually knighted for his services.
  • Less known but perhaps more influential than Amargo was Miguel Enríquez, a 16th century mulatto soldier who worked his way up as a contrabandist, pirate and eventually privateer of the Spanish Empire, amassing a fleet of dozens of ships and basically becoming the richest man in the Caribbean at its time. He was not officially referred as a privateer, but a guardacostas, a euphemistic term for people hired to fight off foreign contraband and piracy who nonetheless privateered the regular way whenever they could.
  • Prince Rupert of the Rhine served as a privateer in the Caribbean.
  • By the eighteenth century privateers had evolved from swashbucklers to what were effectively naval officers working for a private concern. They observed The Laws and Customs of War as well as naval officers did and had an elaborate system of law regarding captures (which even allowed a privateer to file suit in a rival belligerent's court after the war if a ship wasn't properly ransomed).
  • During the early days of the American Civil War, the Confederacy issued several letters of marque. This made sense as they had very little in the way of a proper navy, and most shipyards, along with all the factories that could produce cannons and steam engines, were in the North. Since the Confederacy wasn't officially recognized as a nation by any of the European powers and was of course considered an illegal rebellion by the United States, the legal validity of these letters of marque were dubious and thus Confederate privateers had very real reason to fear being treated as pirates if they were caught.
  • Since it was written in the 18th century, the U.S. Constitution provides for the issuing of Letters of Marque by Congress, right next to the section that gives Congress the power to declare war. A quick search shows that Congress exercised this power during the War of 1812, and the last U.S. craft alleged to operate under a Letter of Marque was the Goodyear blimp Resolute, which engaged in anti-submarine patrols in 1941 and 1942 (in reality, the Congress never issued such an authorization). While the practice has been forsworn by nations signatory to the Paris Declaration of 1856, the U.S. is not a signatory (issuing Letters of Marque is an enumerated power of Congress, it would take a Constitutional Amendment to remove it), but has abided by the provisions anyway. Once countries could afford adequate full-time navies, privateers became unnecessary.
    • After the 9/11 terrorist attacks Congressman Ron Paul proposed that the best response would be to issue Letters of Marque to Private Military Contractors, permitting them to go after Bin Laden and his henchmen in exchange for a sizable bounty. Nothing came out of it, though.
  • In 1980, in the midst of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, at least one man applied to Congress for a Letter of Marque. He planned to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil out of the Gulf. Predictably, he was turned down.
  • One of the best-known ghost stories in Nova Scotia involves an American privateer ship called the Young Teazer that exploded in Mahone Bay during the War of 1812. Supposedly people still see the apparition of a flaming ship in the bay once in a while.
  • The Chinese militia are employed by the Chinese Government and take orders from them. Nicknamed "Dark Ships" (because they turn off their AIS transponders to conceal themselves from communications and radar) their activities border on poaching and are responsible for the environmental degradation of oceans due to their illegal actions and are spread in waters outside China.