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Changing Nature of Contemporary Maritime Piracy: Results From the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database 2001-10

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2014 Pages: 652-672
Anamika A. Twyman-Ghoshal; Glenn Pierce
Date Published
July 2014
21 pages
Based on data obtained from the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database (CMPD), this study documents the change in piracy tactics, determining that the new form of piracy that emerged in the 1990s is the dominant type of piracy in the study period (2001-10).
Analyses focus on the five countries associated with the most piracy incidents in this decade: Indonesia, Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and India. The study found that contemporary forms of piracy in most of the world are perpetrated close to shore, on stationary vessels, at night, without any interaction with the crew, with low-level or no armaments, and with a high probability of boarding the target vessel. In contrast, piracy in Somalia occurs in the high seas, on vessels in motion, and during the day. It is predominantly threatening, uses sophisticated weapons, and has a lower likelihood of boarding. Whereas the majority of piracy is motivated by theft of ship equipment and/or crew belongings, piracy in Somalia is motivated by ransoms in exchange for releasing a seized vessel. Analyses of evasive tactics to counter a successful attack found that vessels have prevented boarding by using a number of tactics. The types of tactics used include warning (alarms, lights, flares); counterattacks (water spray, turning lights on and off); locking all doors and hatches; using hired guards, and chasing and capturing the pirates. The study showed that in the first 9 years of the study decade, there was a steady increase in the response from authorities to a distress call from vessels threatened by pirates. 6 figures and 43 references