Piracy in the Horn of Africa: Some good news but a lot of work has to be done

By Commander Dimitrios Dalaklis H.N.,

Lecturer in the Hellenic Naval Academy (HNA), Department of Combat Systems, Naval Operations, Sciences of the Sea, Navigation, Electronics and Communication Systems.

With oceans covering almost three-quarters of the earth’s surface and with well over 80% of all international trade transported by sea, piracy -without any intention to downgrade other types of maritime crime, i.e. illegal weapons’ trafficking, or terrorism- is undoubtedly an issue of international concern.  Piracy is a very challenging question towards the security structure of the areas in which it is committed. It is strongly associated with disturbances to the economic, societal and political stability. In addition, as a maritime crime -which inevitably involves violence- it poses a serious threat against sailors’ lives. There is clear evidence that piracy has become more sophisticated when compared even with the recent past; piracy efforts have ceased to be just robberies of small vessels and sailing crafts. Today, the preferred modus operandi of pirates is an armed attack on larger ships -such as tankers and cargo ships- with the objective of hijacking the vessel and kidnapping the crew for ransom. Since the beginning of the new millennium, Somali outlaws of the sea gradually have escalated their activities in the vicinity of the coastline and the Gulf of Aden; after 2008 their actions spiralled out of control…

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