The rise of piracy has informed major transformations in Italian maritime security policies. In a recent article in Ocean Development & International Law, Stefano Ruzza and I analyse Italy’s approach to deploy armed vessel protection teams on board of ships. Here I draw attention to a recent shift in Italy’s maritime security policy that allows private security contractors to take on a greater role in protecting Italian flagged ships against pirate attacks.
Italian vessels repeatedly suffered from pirate attacks. Between 2009 and 2013, 35 ships were attacked. Five attacks, four of which occurred in 2011, resulted in the hijacking of the vessel. In some cases, such as the rescue of the Montecristo in October 2011, the crew was freed by a British Navy operation, while in others large ransoms were paid. The Savina Caylin, for example, was released in February 2011 after the payment of no less than 10 million USD. Besides threatening the Italian shipping industry, piracy has been conceptualized as a threat to the national interest at large, as the attacks could potentially result in a shift of maritime routes away from Suez and the Mediterranean, and therefore lead to a marginalization of Italian ports. Due to these reasons, Italy has played a prominent role in the major international initiatives launched to counter maitime piracy. In 2005, Italy was the first country to deploy a frigate off the Somali shores in an antipiracy mission called Mare Sicuro [Safe Sea]. Since then, Italy has participated in various other naval operations such as NATO’s Ocean Shield, EUNAVFOR Atalanta, EUCAP Nestor and the Combined Task Force 151.
Elena Sadovaya and Vinh Thai, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
To enhance maritime security in shipping companies, a number of compulsory and voluntary regulations have been introduced at the beginning of the 21st century. However, besides benefits expected from the implementation of these regulations, they have also had negative impacts. Nevertheless, industry participants had no other choice, but to comply with these regulations in order to participate in national and international trades. For some companies, additional cost related to security implementation resulted in bankruptcy while others managed to sustain under the burden of necessary financial investments, paper work, additional manpower and time requirements. Specifically, an effective management of maritime security in those companies helped them to achieve benefits beyond security improvements, such as improved competitive position, better data management and document processing, improved cooperation with partners and government, etc.
Jan Stockbruegger, Brown University, and Christian Bueger, Cardiff University
We have compiled a new Piracy Studies Bibliography, which you can access as PDF here.
The aim of this bibliography is to gather a comprehensive collection of academic works on contemporary (post WWII) maritime piracy, with a focus on academic books, journals and working paper. In addition the bibliography includes some titles on the history of piracy, and some general interest literature on piracy.
The present version includes almost 600 entries. It documents the extent to which piracy has become a serious issue of academic inquiry, and how investigations of piracy contribute to general discourse and debates in International Relations, Area Studies, Maritime Studies, International Law, Criminology, and other disciplines.
We hope that this bibliography helps you a little bit to find your way through the piracy studies literature.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Horn of Africa became the global piracy hot spot, with headlines detailing multi-million dollar ransoms, rescue operations and violence. The international response to Somali-based piracy was organised into three domains: (i) maintaining order in international waters, (ii) reducing ships’ vulnerability, and (iii) development activities and institution building in Somalia. Since their introduction, pirate activity has dramatically reduced. The aim of our recent British Journal of Criminology paper How Super Controllers Prevent Crimes: Learning from Modern Maritime Piracy was to explore the suppression of Somali-based piracy from a criminological perspective. We adopted Routine Activity Theory to examine how the operating conditions of Somali-based piracy was altered.
Modern maritime piracy has become a significant issue which costs the global economy $24.5 billion per year. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reports that attacks in major waterways have increased over the past decades. Extensive research has been done with regard to countering piracy and understanding the resurgence of attacks since the early ‘90s. What are the mechanisms which drive different people in different countries across the globe to all participate in such illegal activities? One of these mechanisms is addressed in a research notes article recently published in the journal Studies in Conflicts and Terrorism.
In a recent article in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Sam Bateman makes predictions about how the maritime environment of East Asia might evolve over the next decade. The article identifies three possible scenarios for the future, as well as the risks of a “strategic shock” that could interfere with predictions of the future. The objective is to assess the implications of current strategic trends for managing regional seas and activities within them. The scenarios offer alternative views of how the regional maritime environment might evolve: whether it will be much the same as at present (the status quo scenario); better than at present, more stable and with enhanced maritime cooperation to manage regional seas (the optimistic scenario); or worse than at present with greater instability, more competition, and low levels of maritime cooperation leading to further degradation of the marine environment and declining fish stocks (the pessimistic scenario). The article concludes with an argument that strengthening operational trust between the stakeholders and agencies involved is crucial to avoid the pessimistic scenario and to move the region toward the optimist scenario.