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MARITIME PIRACY
Unlike most of the other organized crime problems discussed in this report, maritime piracy is not a trafficking issue. No contraband is moved, no illicit market serviced. Rather, it is a violent, acquisitive crime.1 It is transnational because a ship is considered the sovereign territory of the nation whose flag she flies.2 It is organized because commandeering a ship at sea requires considerable planning and some specialized expertise. The following chapter focuses on just one piracy problem: that found off the coast of Somalia, especially in the Gulf of Aden. This area has seen the largest share of global piracy attacks in recent years, and the problem appears to be growing. Somalia is not the only area of the world affected by maritime piracy, however. The Gulf of Guinea in West Africa has long been a high risk area, as are the waters along Bangladesh and the South China Sea. But in 2009, more than half the global piracy attacks were ascribed to Somali pirates. Until recently, piracy was a phenomenon in decline. Twenty-first century piracy was first seen in the South China Sea and in the Malacca Straits. 3 Attacks peaked at roughly 350 to 450 reported attacks per year during the period 2000-2004, and then dropped by almost half in 2005.4 This reduction was attributed to effective and coordinated international action against the pirates. But in 20082009, piracy again skyrocketed, due almost entirely to the dramatic increase of piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Piracy is once again on the forefront of the international community’s attention, as maritime trade is threatened and ransom payments to Somali pirates have risen to the millions of dollars. FIG. 155: LOCATIONS OF ALL REPORTED PIRACY ATTACKS, 2000-2009 500

Total number of attacks

400 300 200 100 0

Somalia/Gulf of Aden Rest of world

The term “piracy” encompasses two distinct sorts of offences: the first is robbery or hijacking, where the target of the attack is to steal a maritime vessel or its cargo; the second is kidnapping, where the vessel and crew are threatened until a ransom is paid. The Somali situation is unique in that almost all of the piracy involves kidnapping for ransom. FIG. 156: PIRACY ATTACKS, 2009

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 22 447 19 316 17 353 21 424 10 319 48 231 22 219 51 219 111 182 217 189

Somalia/Gulf of Aden Rest of world

Source: IMB-ICC annual reports, 2003-2009

Each dot represents a piracy or armed robbery incident during 2009 Total per regions Note: The names of countries are mentioned when the number of attacks was higher than 10 in 2009. Gulf of Aden India Caribbean Sea Nigeria Somalia Bay of Bengal Viet Nam Bangladesh Pacific Ocean

37
Peru

South and Central America

30 South
Asia
Malaysia Indian Ocean Indonesia

Gulf of Guinea

47 West Africa
Atlantic
UNODC / SCIENCES PO

223 Indian Ocean,
Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

67 South-East
Asia

Ocean Pacific Ocean

Sources: International Chamber of Commerce, International Maritime Bureau, Piracy Reporting Center

Case studies of transnational threats

193

MARITIME PIRACY

FIG. 157:

PIRACY ATTACKS, MAIN COUNTRIES, 1992-2009

Number of pirate attacks
Countries with more than 50 attacks during the period 1992-2009.

350

200

150

100

1992

1995

2000

2005

50

Somalia / Red Sea / Gulf of Aden Peru United Republic of Tanzania Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Viet Nam

10

Nigeria

Bangladesh India

Malacca Straits Singapore Straits Malaysia

Indonesia Ecuador Sri Lanka Thailand

Philippines Brazil
Source: ICC International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Roberry against Ships, annual reports from 2003 to 2009

China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) 1992 1995 2000 2005 2009

194

MARITIME PIRACY

What is the nature of this market? Although there have long been pirates based in Somalia, profiting off the commercial maritime flows that...
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