May 10, 2010
The shipping industry is one of the most important industries in existence. In fact, roughly 90% of the world’s trade is carried out by the international shipping industry. As such, it should be as well protected as possible from those attempting to take advantage of its many offerings. Seeing as though the shipping industry is international by nature, it is regulated by a number of United Nation agencies, most notably being the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The IMO’s main tasks include the regulation of safety standards, environmental concerns, legal matters, the efficiency of shipping, and, most recently maritime security. One of the main issues in regards to maritime security has to do with piracy.
In order to begin combating piracy, it should first be defined. The IMO defines piracy in article 101 of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) as any of the following acts:
(a) | any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed: |
... , job satisfaction etc. Considering the rivalry in shipping industry in India, will be held valid due to ... preferred in international trade. India has a total of 1,122 shipping vessels in its shipping fleet and ... Port Trust Act of 1963, whilst the minor ports are corporate entities, and can be private companies. ... s growth trajectory. Piracy has emerged as a significant threat to world shipping in Gulf of ...
| (i) | on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship
or aircraft; |
| (ii) | against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State; |
(b) | any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts
making it a pirate ship or aircraft; |
(c) | any act inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b).”(www.imo.org) |
The existence of pirates dates back to when people first began sailing the high seas, which goes back to the days of the Egyptians. Until relatively recently, there had been little to no legislation passed to help protect against acts of piracy. In 1998 the IMO took the first step towards attempting to eliminate these appalling acts of violence and theft by implementing a long term anti-piracy project. Pirates make our world not only more dangerous, but more difficult to run as well because businesses suffer when the ships carrying their goods are hijacked. For pirates, the risk has for the most part remained the same over the years, but now the reward has increased exponentially. The ships pirates typically attempt to rob are of much more value than ships boarded in previous eras. The number of pirate attacks per year, has decreased today, compared to before the Common Era, but as of recently, there has been a sharp increase in the number of pirate attacks. If more is not done about the continuing piracy problem, it will only continue to escalate.
Piracy is a serious issue that until recently hasn’t been treated as such. Although it has been frowned upon and feared for as long as it has existed, there has been no offensive action taken either politically or physically in recent time. Piracy costs maritime companies roughly $13 to $15 million dollars annually and it’s time to take action against said crimes and attempt to severely handicap countries such as Somalia where piracy is one of the country’s leading industries (Kraska, James).
... 5 1995, the top ten world pirates were as follows: Country Millions lost in US $ % of piracy United States 2877 35% Japan 2076 ... than in trade or attacking enemy ships. This started an increase in the number of pirates. Soon, in some parts of the ... the lack of plunder because there were still many merchant ships sailing between nations with valuable cargo. Also, the conditions in ...
There are many different ways to go about attempting to bring down pirates. In order to successfully combat piracy there needs to action taken at the source. Somalia is leading the world as far as a single country housing and supporting piracy(Axe, David).
Countries such as Somalia need to be dealt with in a way that will prevent these countries from housing and protecting pirates. Although simple in principal, carrying out this task will prove to be much more difficult. One of the biggest problems with doing this is the fact that Somalians and members of countries similar to Somalia as a whole need to change their thinking as far as what is right and what is wrong. Seeing as though there is no law in Somalia that prevents one from engaging in activities such as piracy without penalty, it would be difficult simply take such a big business away from its people (Axe, David).
Unfortunately, even if this plan did work it would be a long term plan and little would be done about the problem at hand in which the maritime industry is currently facing today. In order to successfully combat the pirates of now, the maritime industry must take action both offensively and defensively. One option available to thwart pirates includes hiring private security teams for the duration of a particular voyage. By placing these security teams aboard vessels, pirates attempting to attack or seize a ship would find it much more difficult and dangerous to do so. If vessels or ship owners are unwilling to pay the fee of these security teams, placing their own defensive devices aboard any particular vessel and training crew members defensive maneuvers and procedures are steps that can be taken to also successfully thwart some of these criminals. One such procedure is as easy as using a high pressure hose or even a high frequency audio device known as the LRAD which stands for long range acoustic device. By sending out ear piercing sounds, the LRAD can be effective in turning pirates away (www.defense-update.com).
As defined by the constitution of the world’s oceans, the Law of the Sea, maritime piracy is any illegal act of violence or detention committed to meet private ends. This differs from maritime terrorism which is any act of violence or detention committed to meet political ends. Piracy is a world issue that affects any nation involved in the international transportation of goods. For a nation to be involved in the transportation of goods, that nation does not even need to have any goods aboard a ship. For example, a crew member aboard a vessel from any particular country would then give that country a stake in the safe transit of that ship. The shipping industry is a necessary function of the successful operation of a global economy. In the world today where nations depend on global trade, it is imperative that the goods being shipped are done so safely and securely.
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During its early existence, the United States paid tributes to Barbary States in exchange for the safe passage of U.S. merchant ships. The U.S. paid out approximately one million dollars or one-sixth of its Federal Budget at the time to the Algiers, the chief seat of the Barbary pirates, in exchange for promise of a safe passage. As one might presume, the Barbary pirates were never totally satisfied. President Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “nothing will stop the eternal increase of demands from these pirates but the presence of an armed force.” In 1801 a U.S. naval squadron was sent by President Thomas Jefferson to the Mediterranean to wage war on Tripoli, but was unsuccessful. In 1815 another squadron consisting of both Naval and Marine forces was sent to Tripoli which eventually led to the agreement of the Barbary States to discontinue attacks on U.S. ships as well as the demand of tributes. Similar to Barbary pirates of yesterday, Somali pirates of today will continue capture and rob vessels until they are politically and physically overthrown.
Throughout the years of the Pirate Wars from 1650 to 1850, countries took the necessary steps to attempt to completely eradicate piracy in certain regions. Unfortunately, the same does not hold true today. Why are countries not taking the problem of modern day piracy seriously? Is it because the general perception of piracy is that of not being a large enough problem to take a stand? Regardless of whether or piracy is perceived as a large enough problem, it is a problem nonetheless. Every vessel successfully ransomed by pirates is re-obtained by its owner or government for an average price of one-million U.S. dollars (Kirkpatrick 2009).
... half a fleet to be composed of merchant ships. Until the threat of piracy subsided in the 19th century, it was normal ... or the Japanese Navy during the Second World War. FISHING VESSEL Japanese squid jigger in Cook Strait ———— ... cushion of high-pressure air between the hull of the vessel and the surface below. Typically this cushion is contained within ...
This is a hefty price for any business, corporation, or country to pay in order to get a ship that had been stolen from them in the same or worse condition with or without its cargo. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick proposes that the U.S. and other capable nations should increase the number of warships stationed off of the coasts of countries where piracy is an issue. In addition to increased warships, he also suggests the implementation of trials to incriminate convicted pirates through either the International Criminal Court or through a venue such as the U.N.
Though expensive and difficult, the ideas offered by Jeane Kirkpatrick are not only sound but also seem as though they could be effective. As a Senior Fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Kirkpatrick may have somewhat of a bias against pirates, but reasonably so. Pirates are a cancer of the seas and a possible cure lies in simply applying some logical solutions.
Countries are now working together to help combat this international crisis. In fact, more than 20 countries, including China, France, India, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States, have responded by sending naval vessels to the coast of east Africa (Kirkpatrick 2009).
Unfortunately, there has still been a consistent increase in the number of pirate attacks since 2007. Off the East African Coast alone 41 ships were reported attacked in 2007. 2008 rendered 122 attacked ship and as of mid-May 2009 there had already been 102 ships attacked (Kirkpatrick 2009).
The IMO has taken the necessary initial steps to begin combating piracy. In fact, a number of plans have been established since 2004 by the Secretary of Defense and Homeland Security in a comprehensive plan entitled the National Strategy for Maritime Securities. This strategy includes eight plans that work together to plan and protect against maritime threats (//www.dhs.gov/files/programs/editorial_0608.shtm).
Some of these plans include The National Plan to Achieve Maritime Domain Awareness, the Maritime Transportation System Security Plan, and the International Outreach and Coordination Strategy. These plans work cohesively so that information and communication can be maximized on a global scale.
... 11. In my opinion, we as a country are less vulnerable to attacks now, because since September 11 we are more ... happened because I thought that our whole country was going to b under attack. I remember it like it was ... terrorist attack. Since the attack on September 11, the only changes in my life are that I love my country even ... worry about terrorism or any other types of attacks on our country. ...
It has been proven over many different periods of history that it is impossible to completely eradicate piracy, but in order to successfully combat piracy it must be done through local governments and initiatives (Kraska 2009).
One such initiative that has been successful in the battle against piracy is that of ReCAAP, or the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia. ReCAAP is the first inter-governmental organization put together to combat piracy. Since its installment, the region has seen a 26% decrease in the number of pirate attacks (Llyod’s List 2009).
Counties in the region of the Horn of Africa are attempting to replicate the successful results of ReCAAP. In January of 2009 an IMO sponsored meeting was held in Djibouti, Africa to discuss maritime security in the region. Over 17 East African and Arab nations attended the meeting, nine of which signed the Djibouti Code, this regions equivalent of ReCAAP (Krasaka 2009).
In addition to the collaboration of country’s efforts, the need for crew members on board vessels to be trained in anti-piracy actions is a necessity. In fact, 78% of all unsuccessful pirate attacks are due to the efforts of the crews (Christian Science Monitor).
By using simple evasive and defensive maneuvers, a crew is be capable of thwarting armed pirates. One of the major issues regarding anti-piracy is that of efficient and effective communication. Effective communication between nations plays an extremely important role in attempting to combat piracy because it allows information regarding possible attacks to be transmitted to nearby vessels. Using focal points set up by ReCAAP and other anti-piracy organizations, information sharing is a powerful force when attempting to thwart pirate attacks. Fast and accurate communication allows for faster response times to acts of piracy (www.recaap.org).
Up until recently, piracy hasn’t been a major world issue. Unfortunately, times have changed. Since the beginning of the 21st century a major increase in attacked vessels has been felt all over the world, especially in the South China Sea.
The major hotspots for these attacks occur in waters in which there is no law, such as the Horn of Africa, off the coast of in the Gulf of Aden, and in the South China Sea. Somali pirates have become so notorious that they have basically become the “face of pirates today”. One of the major issues with that is the fact that the country of Somalia is doing little if anything to prevent its people from conducting piracy. In fact, piracy is Somalia’s number one industry, bringing in an estimated $150 million in 2008 (Axe, David).
... of Environment (DoE) has categorized the Ship Breaking Industry (SBI) as ‘Red’ in 1995(EIA guidelines for ... while they catch fish at sea they face piracy. They also face the muscle man, middle ... period. It started automatically when a 20000 DWT vessel was drive ashore by the devastating tidal bore ... the Industries, 1997). The Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) is ...
Somali pirates are even seen as a sort of rock star where they come from, which only persuades them to keep stealing. Not only is it Somalia’s biggest, most glamorous industry, but it’s also one of the easiest to get in to. There are no prerequisites necessary to be a pirate, all one would need to be a full blown pirate is a small vessel, weapons, a simple ladder, and the guts to board a ship and threaten every life aboard that vessel.
The risk reward analysis for pirates is also off the charts. Say a pirate opted to attempt to rob a civilian vessel, they couldn’t get shot. By international law, it is illegal for a civilian vessel to carry guns. What would the pirate be risking? Possibly his time? But what could the pirate be gaining? More often than not, anything he wanted on the vessel and possibly even the vessel itself. With no law to govern the waters he’s patrolling, a pirate would be free to do as he pleases. However, if law did exist in the waters pirates operate in, it would be much more difficult and dangerous for pirates to perform their acts of theft. Where this starts is in Somalia.
Ideas of a Somali Coast Guard have been proposed, as well as quick and efficient communication systems, but I don’t feel that is enough. Somalia would need to be able to govern itself and decide that Somalia as a whole does not want to be viewed as the country where pirates come from. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither would the government of Somalia. This plan would be a long-term effort to help protect the future of the shipping industry. But what about the present? The ideas expressed earlier about efficient communication systems and a possible Somali coast guard would be good temporary solutions. The implementation of navies from different nations to patrol and govern the waters would also be an excellent temporary as well as a long term solution. If it is necessary to have these waters patrolled and the country closest to these waters isn’t acting, then countries from different areas should step in. Between the United States and the United Kingdom, there are plenty of vessels and manpower that could be used to help improve the safety of these shipping lanes. In fact, as of September 2009 in the U.S. Navy alone there were over 109,000 naval personnel on active reserve who would make for excellent “anti-pirates”(www.navy.mil).
The implementation of a Somalia government as well as using the navies of capable countries will help to decrease if not eliminate piracy around the Horn of Africa as well as along the Somali coast. The shipping lanes where these attacks most often occur are very important to the shipping industry as a whole. Large quantities of European and Saudi oil are transported using these routes. Some companies have even elected to take longer and safer routes to ship their goods. As one might think, a longer route is a more expensive route. Companies are not only losing money due to safer transportation routes, but they are losing money to pirates who demand ransoms for the ships, cargo, and personnel aboard a seized vessel.
As stated before, a stable Somali government would drastically improve the situation at hand. By having the country which pirates currently consider to be a safe haven run in a democratic fashion, pirates would be deterred and penalized by their own government. The implementation of military forces from other nations would also greatly improve the problem of piracy due to the fact that the waters which are currently ungoverned would be patrolled by anti-piracy vessels with the necessary equipment and weapons to defeat a ship that intends to steal or rob another.
Upon the implementation of anti-piracy policies and tactics that have been discussed previously, the shipping industry will experience a severe decrease in the number of vessels successfully attacked, robbed, and held for ransom. In effect, the shipping industry will be more able to thrive without being hindered by this maritime cancer. Although relatively new, these policies and procedures have already created a safer working environment for the ship owners as well as those aboard the vessel on any particular voyage. Just recently the Maersk Alabama, the vessel which was attacked back in April 2009 and whose captain had been taken hostage then rescued by a team of Navy Seal snipers, was attacked yet again. Dissimilar to the previous attack, the vessel was prepared. Instead of merely relying on the crew of the vessel to react to an attack such as the one that occurred back in April of 2009, the vessel was equip with an on-board security team who repelled the pirate’s attack with small arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD (Cowell, Allen).
With more and more vessels taking similar approaches to helping to protect the lives of the crew as well as the safety of the ship, the shipping industry is experiencing a decrease in losses, in terms of having to pay ransoms and possibly not getting the vessel back.
Attempting to diminish the amount of piracy is a necessary step that must begin to be taken soon. Using both short-term and long-term strategies, the maritime industry needs to rid itself of this cancer. Piracy has been costing the maritime industry as a whole nearly $15 million dollars annually and an effort on the part of the maritime industry as a whole will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this paper. The modern era has begun to realize that piracy is not just something that happened back then and not today. It has always existed, but up until recently this age has not seen piracy of this magnitude.
Axe, David. 10 Things you Didn’t Know About Somali Pirates
Kirkpatrick, Jeane J. Pirates, Then and Now. Foreign Affairs.
Krasaka, James; Wilson, Brian. Combating pirates of the Gulf of Aden: The Djibouti Code and the Somali Coast Guard.
No author attributed. Somali Pirates Set Dangerous Trend. Global News Wire.
No author attributed. With Piracy Odds in Their Favor…The Christian Science Monitor