Pirates of the Carib^H^H^H^H^HMalaccas

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End

Quoth Chow Yun-Fat: Welcome to Singapore.

Spoilers after the jump.

The first part of PotC3 is set in Singapore, where Jack Sparrow must steal a map from legendary Chinese pirate Sao Feng (apparently based on a real person!). History fails to record whether Jack and his cohorts stopped off at Brewerkz for a few celebratory brewskis.

Strangely, Disney are soft-balling the promotion around here. I’ve seen a few posters around Clarke Quay and Dhoby Ghaut, but that’s it. (Maybe they’ve realised that the Singaporean crowd will spot that none of it was actually filmed over here.)

Funnily enough, naval piracy is a genuine problem around here. The seas around here are shallow, the straits are difficult to navigate, and the volumes of traffic flowing through the narrow shipping channels are enormous - more than 25% of all the world’s trade, and a lot of it is oil.

Here’s an excellent article about Malaccan piracy from the London Review of Books. An anti-piracy initiative was launched in 2004; it’s helped cut attacks from 75 a year to 50 a year, but that’s still well above the one-or-two-a-year levels that used to be seen when Indonesia was more politically stable.

At one point, before the anti-piracy initiative was launched, Lloyd’s of London would charge a 1%-of-insured-value premium for ships transiting the straits. Imagine how much that would cost on a 3-million-barrel Malaccamax crude carrier…