Skiffs used by Somali swashbucklers in the Gulf ofAden are a dime a dozen now that attacks are on the decline but demand for classicpirate ships appears to be rising, which has helped preserve prices.

Pirate ships are so popular these days that many ofthe units listed for sale on the internet are no longer available, includingone that sold for nearly $80,000 just days after its owner posted anadvertisement on the Craigslist website.

TradeWinds tracked down the seller, Tim Woodson, anartist from St Louis who has already constructed five and recently startedworking on sixth after selling one to a nationally syndicated television showthat runs on the History channel.

The unit found on Craigslist is 50 feet (15 metres) long, holds30 people and is actually a conversion. Woodson says it took about nine monthsto turn a 1988 Gibson houseboat into a pirate ship, which he calls the GypsyRose V.

One of the first pirate ships the artist built is equippedwith cannons and patrols the Mississippi River where many a crew member hasbeen forced to walk the plank. It’s unclear how the vessel would stack upagainst one of the many anti-piracy systems available in the market today.