Contemporary Piracy as an Issue of Academic Inquiry: A Bibliography

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.

Please access the bibliography here.

Preventing Piracy off Somalia: Insights from Routine Activity Theory

Michael Townsley, Griffith University

Jolly RogerIn 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.

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Economic Factors for Piracy: The Effect of Commodity Price Shocks

Alexander Knorr, University of Colorado

The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_by_William_Clarkson_StanfieldModern 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.

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The Future of Maritime Security in East Asia: Alternative Scenarios and the Importance of Trust

Sam Bateman, University of Wollongong

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.

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Liberal Cooperation vs. Great Power Rivalry? How the New U.S. Seapower Strategy Shapes World Order

Jan Stockbruegger, Cardiff University

Operation Unified AssistanceIn March 2015, the U.S. published its updated and revised “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged, Ready (CS-21R). CS-21R was developed jointly by the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. It is one of the first official documents that tries to translate the strategic “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific”, outlined in the 2012 Defence Guidelines (U.S. Department of Defense 2012: 2), into military practice. CS-21R is concerned, among others, with the modernization and expansion of Chinese defence systems and challenges to U.S naval supremacy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. CS-21R is designed to reassure U.S. allies, to enhance the forward presence of U.S. maritime forces and to guarantee U.S. command of the commons and freedom of action in the maritime domain. CS-21R has far reaching implication for the future of the international system and world peace and security. The world’s oceans are no longer seen as a post-Cold War liberal space of interdependence, exchange and cooperation. Instead, CS-21R portrays the maritime domain in realist terms and as an emerging geopolitical and military battlefield. We might be witnessing the beginning of a new era of interstate conflict and rivalry over maritime power. World order, so to say, is about to change at sea, and CS-21R is a significant milestones in this process.

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Managing Security Risks at Sea: A Challenge for the Shipping Industry

Hans Liwång, (Swedish Defence University), Karl Sörenson (Swedish Defence University) and Cecilia Österman (Linnaeus University)

Cross_ocean_big_ship_strandedShip security measures are often the first and only measures preventing criminal acts at sea. At the same time ship operators have had problems defending the quality of their ship security analysis when it is challenged. Ship security management is today prescribed to be risk-based which has two objectives: to effectively reduce the security risk to acceptable levels, and to create a security culture in the organization that supports effective ship operation on an everyday basis. Handling the organizational culture is especially challenging because of the subjective nature of risk perception. Another challenge is that risk analysis often suffers from a too narrow perspective when it comes to identifying threat, hazards and consequences. In a recently published article in the WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, the authors identify challenges for ship operators when preparing for security threats. The study investigated the methodology for risk analysis. It focuses on two central aspects: understanding the threat and understanding how a security threat can affect the crew and operation of the ship. These two areas were chosen because they are not assumed to be a natural part of a ship operator’s organizational knowledge although they are crucial for successful risk mitigation.

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