I think a pirate variant could add for a little bit of randomness and fun . For example, any ship that is out at sea is subject to a dice roll that determines whether the Pirates attack or not. If the roll comes out as positive then a second roll ensues to determine which of the ships at Sea gets attacked. If a particular ship is attacked another roll to determine whether the Pirates boarded or not. Naturally in the worst case scenario the player has to pay a ransom to get his or her ship back or maybe lose a percentage of containers that are on the ship or similar burden.
"Roll the dice to see if bad shit will hapen to you!" Yeah, great fun.