Attacking Piracy

August 2009 • Volume 3, Issue 8
Can the growing global threat be stopped?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

Somali pirates surrender to a U.S. anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden. (U.S. Navy/Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky)
Suspected Somali pirates surrender to a U.S. Navy anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 11, 2009. Nearly two-thirds of pirate attacks worldwide so far this year occurred in the gulf and off the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Navy/Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky)

After centuries of inactivity, piracy has returned with a vengeance. Maritime marauders now operate across the globe from Peru to the Philippines, but they pose the biggest threat off the coast of Somalia — a failed state in the Horn of Africa. In the first six months of 2009, attacks by Somali pirates jumped sixfold over the same period last year. Piracy costs global shippers $10 billion to $50 billion a year in ransoms, lost cargoes, higher insurance premiums and disrupted shipping schedules — costs that are passed on to consumers. The world's largest navies have sent warships to the Horn of Africa in recent months and have captured more than 100 pirates. But it may be too costly to maintain the naval patrols over the long term. In addition, murky anti-piracy laws and jurisdictional issues are hampering prosecutions. Moreover, some security experts fear pirates may be exposing vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit to disrupt global trade, raising the stakes in the fight to solve a growing international problem.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Africa
Jul. 10, 2015  Terrorism in Africa
Nov. 20, 2012  Booming Africa
Apr. 05, 2011  Conflict in Congo
Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
Jun. 2009  The Troubled Horn of Africa
Sep. 2008  Crisis in Darfur
Jan. 2008  China in Africa
Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
Aug. 27, 2004  Stopping Genocide
Aug. 29, 2003  Aiding Africa
Nov. 08, 2002  Famine in Africa
Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
Jan. 14, 1994  South Africa's Future
Mar. 23, 1990  U.S. Role in South Africa's Future
Nov. 07, 1986  Economic Turnabout In Africa
Jan. 17, 1986  Angola and the Reagan Doctrine
Sep. 09, 1983  South Africa's ‘Total Strategy’
Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
Sep. 03, 1976  Africa and the Big Powers
Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
Feb. 28, 1968  Nigeria at War
Nov. 02, 1966  White Outposts in Southern Africa
Feb. 03, 1965  Congo Dilemma
Aug. 12, 1964  Red Rivalry in Africa
May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
Sep. 28, 1960  Education for Africans
Apr. 10, 1959  Power Struggles in Colonial Africa
Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
Sep. 11, 1957  Future of Algeria
Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
Feb. 20, 1952  Nationalism in North Africa
Dec. 04, 1942  War Resources in Africa
May 29, 1935  Pre-War and Post-War Imperialism in Africa
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