COUNTER-PIRACY: ORCHESTRATING THE RESPONSE
Causes of sea piracy are very complex and often defy easy solution. One of
the major reasons for reemergence of piracy over the past two decades was an
enormous increase in both international and domestic maritime trade and large
number of ports. This, in turn, offered almost limitless range of tempting, highpayoff
targets for pirates and terrorists. In many undeveloped countries, lack
of adequate naval forces or coast guard and maritime surveillance capabilities
combined with coastal and port-side security make it much easier for various
criminal groups to commit piratical acts. Escalation of piracy at sea in recent
years has been a matter of great concern to the maritime community and has
prompted International Maritime Organization (IMO) to make combating it a
central theme of its work. The reality, of course, is that piracy is too complex
and has become too entrenched for any one entity to deal with it effectively. After
the hijacking of one of the Bangladeshi flag vessel in 2010, people of Bangladesh
came to know about modern day hijacking in the open sea and their activities.
Through a series of measures, developed and implemented with the strong and
much appreciated co-operation of the littoral States and the unreserved support
of the shipping industry, the scourge of piracy in those waters has significantly
reduced nowadays. The United Nations, alliances (political and defense) of
States, Governments acting collectively or individually, military forces, shipping
companies, ship operators and ships’ crews, all had a crucial part to play in order
to rid the world of the threat posed by sea piracy. To alleviate this unacceptable
situation, no effort should be spared. Shipping companies must ensure that
their ships rigorously apply the IMO guidance and industry-developed Best
Management Practices in their entirety, so that, when venturing into the seas and oceans, they comply with all the recommended measures as no ship is
invulnerable. Some success in thwarting pirate attacks can already be claimed
from the falling percentage of attacks that prove successful. Nevertheless, as the
statistics so bleakly indicate, piracy and armed robbery against ships remain
real and ever-present dangers to those who use the seas for peaceful purposes.
So long as pirates continue harassing shipping, hijacking ships and seafarers,
the maritime institutions can neither be proud of, nor content with, the results
achieved so far. A comprehensive approach is badly needed in to deter sea piracy
in the world’s ocean. The military action alone cannot resolve the problem of
piracy. It must be only a part of a much broad and comprehensive series of
actions. The main causes of piracy are predominantly political, economic, and
social. Hence, the long-term solution can be found only if the international
community and regional governments make concerted efforts to solve the root
causes of piracy.
Counter-Piracy: An Operational Perspective by Milan Vego, Reprinted from
Tidskrift i Sjöväsendet Issue 3 2009, Published by THE ROYAL SWEDISH
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