Ulrik Trolle Smed and Anders Wivel, University of Copenhagen
The piracy problem in East Africa gained international attention in particular from 2005 and onwards. In this international setting, Denmark, a small state with strong maritime interests and tradition, experienced a surprising amount of tailwind for its counterpiracy efforts and policy proposals.
Small states are traditionally characterized by their lack of influence and capabilities. They have less military and economic power than great powers, smaller territories and populations and fewer diplomats and private citizens available for influencing international affairs. In the case of piracy off the Horn of Africa, small maritime states such as the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka are the states most vulnerable to the threats and challenges following from piracy. They come to the negotiation table seeking solutions of common interest but lack the necessary capabilities to play a decisive role. At the same time, they are usually the first to feel the consequences of new threats or indecision.
What did Denmark do to influence the international counterpiracy agenda? What lessons does the Danish experience hold for small states in the Indian Ocean aiming to minimize the risk of piracy in the region and influence international counterpiracy policy? Read more →
Christian Bueger, Cardiff University
2016 marks the beginning of the transition of the counter-piracy response in the Horn of Africa. Many states have already significantly reduced their involvement in counter-piracy. Recent revisions of the counter-piracy architecture raise the question of what the future holds for the main coordination body, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).
Recently, the High Risk Area has been revised, which documents that international stakeholders are altering the approach they take to contain piracy. While the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have announced in July 2015 to continue their operation, the mandates of the two other missions, NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and the EU’s EUNAVFOR Atalanta, are under review. There are clear expectations that the EU will continue the mission in one form or another and maintain the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa, important for situational awareness in the area. These developments need to be seen against the backdrop of the assessment that no large scale piracy attack was successful since 2012. Notwithstanding, the threat of piracy in the region persists. This is clearly highlighted by the 2015 threat assessment of the military missions and further evidenced by recent reports of low scale hijackings and hostage taking attempts. Read more →
Jan Stockbruegger, Brown University, & Christian Bueger, Cardiff University
We have compiled a new version of the 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.
Alexander Knorr, University of Colorado
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.
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Terrence Lee and Kevin McGahan, National University of Singapore
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are the three key littoral countries that border the Straits of Malacca, a major waterway and transit area in Southeast Asia which has traditionally witnessed a fair amount of maritime piracy through the ages. While these countries generally hold many things in common, such as historical, linguistic and cultural ties, they are also differ significantly in terms of strategic and economic interests. Despite these important differences, why have Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia been able to cooperate in implementing and enforcing an anti-piracy regime that has been relatively effective? In a recently published article in the Pacific Review, we seek to engage this research question. We initially draw on theories in international relations that are informed by rational choice to explain international cooperation, namely neorealism and neoliberal institutionalism. We argue that key developments of the anti-piracy regime are not fully explained by such rationalist theories, which often stress strategic and material interests of states. In fact, despite rising levels of piracy in the Straits that threatened commercial and strategic goals, for many years the littoral states demonstrated only modest cooperative initiatives.
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