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Future Issue: Maritime Piracy

1 November 2008

 In this Future Issue, the focus will be on a threat that by its largely unregulated, opaque and anarchic nature has a profound impact on the maritime realm: Piracy. Over 80% of global trade is conducted by sea, with over 46.000 large vessels and around 4.000 large ports making up today’s maritime transport system. The maritime environment is nearly 2.5 times larger than our planet’s terrestrial surface, composing a complex network of high seas, territorial waters, estuaries and river systems. Piracy occurs in largely ungoverned areas where lawlessness and poor monitoring are the norm. The security challenges arising from piracy are multifaceted and affect a wide array of actors. Piracy not only constitutes a direct threat to the physical security of the shipping crew, piracy also has a direct economic impact in terms of theft of goods, stores and even ships, fraud, delaying effects resulting in higher costs, increased insurance premiums or alterations of international shipping routes. The purpose of this Future Issue is to provide an analysis of the underlying drivers of piracy, a trend analysis, threats, mitigation strategies and the future implications of this phenomenon for security and business interests.