On 3 May, Ocean Beyond Piracy’s new State of Maritime Piracy 2016 report was launched in London. Together with Maisie Pigeon, I had the honour to be one of the lead authors of this year’s report. The document underlines once more that piracy and armed robbery at sea have broad economic and – most importantly – human implications.
The main findings of this year’s report are available here. We found that decreased vigilance and deterrence in high-risk areas provides criminal groups with opportunities to attack vulnerable vessels. That is true off the Horn of Africa, but also in other regions. Furthermore, kidnap-for-ransom attacks off West Africa and in the Sulu and Celebes Seas in Southeast Asia have significantly increased in 2016. In West Africa, these attacks were concentrated off the Nigerian coastline. This area remains a particular area of concern for maritime operations.
This is a quote from the press release. It underlines the need for regional cooperation to provide sustainable, long-term solutions:
A 35% decrease in overall attacks in Asia has been credited to the effectiveness of increased patrols and incident reporting. But while some forms of piracy and armed robbery at sea are declining, other forms are on the rise. The Sulu and Celebes Seas show an increase in a particularly violent form of kidnapping incidents, which highlights the need for regional actors to remain on guard.
This year’s State of Maritime Piracy was the seventh annual report that analyses the economic and the human costs of piracy and armed robbery at sea. It provides important analysis for academic researchers, shipping professionals and policymakers. At the same time, the figures in the report underline that piracy is just one aspect of maritime security. While it may be the priority for shipping companies and many western governments, countries affected by piracy often have other problems which are much more important.
Future of the State of Maritime Piracy
Addressing broader maritime security issues will be key to addressing problems with pirate attacks as well. Since that is one of my own research interests, I am looking forward to working with OBP a lot more in the future.
The full State of Maritime Piracy 2016 report is available here.