Category Archives: Piracy

Maritime Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

Rising maritime crimes in West Africa are beginning to surpass those along the coast of Somalia, the continent’s heretofore hotbed of piracy. An estimated 100 attacks are occurring each year in Nigerian waters alone, as former insurgents join criminal networks to perpetrate robberies, kidnappings, and cargo seizures, including significant hauls of crude oil destined for international markets. West African states must work to coordinate maritime interdiction efforts and to break up land-based criminal networks financing attacks and laundering the resulting proceeds.

Finding a Regional Solution to Piracy: Is the Djibouti Process the Answer?

The Djibouti Code of Conduct signed by 21 countries, including 13 from Africa, to combat piracy in the western Indian Ocean has seen many achievements since implementation began in 2010: the creation of information sharing centers in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, review of national legislation, and coast guard training and capacity building throughout the region. While many technical achievements have been realized, stronger agreements forged through existing regional blocs may lead to more robust responses such as joint multilateral operations or collective responses.

Global Challenge, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy

East and West Africa have emerged as global piracy hot spots where rising numbers of attacks have resulted in hundreds of kidnappings and billions of dollars in aggregate economic costs. Effective responses in both regions will require better management and control of maritime domains as well as legal reforms to address maritime criminality, subregional cooperation, and onshore political and development adjustments to mitigate the incentives that motivate many pirates.

The Economic Costs of Maritime Piracy

Piracy significantly elevates the costs of international shipping and expenditures on security and patrolling, but its economic and human impact in Africa is equally considerable. In Kenya, a piracy premium forces up the cost of imports and exports by tens of millions of dollars each month. Basic food prices in Somalia have become more volatile, with spikes of 10 percent or more. And in Nigeria, piracy threatens some 50,000 jobs.

Somalia: Pirates or Protectors?

Each year hundreds of illegal vessels operate along Somalia’s coast and compete with many local fishermen, putting some out of business and overfishing many stocks. Somali pirates have garnered some popular support on the grounds that they deter such activity. Tandem efforts to counter both piracy and illegal fishing are needed to undermine the credibility piracy enjoys in Somalia.