British couple was attacked, in Summer 1996, while sailing around Corfu Island (Greece) with assault rifles and grenades, months earlier armed men attacked tanker Succi when she was only few hours from Singapore. The pirates tied up the crew and put it in a life boat and sailed off. The crew was rescued but the tanker disappeared.
According to London based International Maritime Bureau, there were 224 incidents of piracy and armed robbery of ships.
According to Time Magazine article: A Plague of Pirates (Time Magazine, August 18, 1997) modern pirates operate differently depending on geographic location. Arabian Sea pirates use the most modern weapons while West Africans use knives and dugout canoes.
Brazilian pirates take advantage of the fact that Brazil does not have the Coast Guard. In the Far East piracy is controlled by organized crime and pirates kidnap the whole ships and cargo.
South China Sea is almost as dangerous place, as it was in the ancient times. Chinese pirates are perhaps the most blatant often operating under the protection of the Chinese government.