Maritime piracy and the most affected regions in the world

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May 3, 2018

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The danger of maritime piracy has become extremely real in the past few years. The plague of maritime pirates has become so real that it has even inspired the creation of Hollywood dramas and movies such as Captain Philips. The troublesome nature has become a source of concern for the entire global shipping sector. As the situation intensifies though, governments, luxury cruise lines, businesses in the energy sector, freight forwarders, and sailors have been forced to find strategies to rectify the problem.

When the issue of pirates at sea was first highlighted, Somali pirates working from the Gulf of Aden and the coastal areas of Somalia were the most well known and prolific of all the global pirates. Although Somali pirates in the Gulf continue to be a threat, they are surprisingly not the worst.

Today, the worst cases of pirate attacks are reported from the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, which are also coincidentally the world’s busiest commercial waterways. 80% of all pirate episodes worldwide are usually launched against anchored ships, with the pirates looting any valuable equipment that they find on board, crew members’ belongings, as well as any money found aboard.

Unlike Somali pirates who are famous for taking hostages, the pirates in South Asia are usually motivated by the cargo and the liquid fuel available. Additionally, South Asian pirates are characteristically very well trained (just like the stuff you would typically see in movies) and are highly organized, which is a far cry from the ad hoc gangs of pirates in Somalia.

According to a 2 study conducted by the One Earth Future Foundation in 2010, approximately $7 billion and $12 billion dollars are lost from the international economy every year due to pirate attacks at sea so there is a great need to solve the issue. To get you fully informed, here are the most affected regions by pirates in the world:

Maritime Piracy the South China Sea

According to the U.N, the waters of Southeast Asia are the most affected by piracy and they are also the most profitable.  pirate attacks that are launched in the South China Sea are usually large-scale and sophisticated strikes on cargo ships at sea. These attacks are often successful probably because they require military coordination and meticulous planning.

The South China territory is quite vast and as the law enforcement resources are typically stretched beyond their capabilities, and because the potential for profits here is usually high, piracy is one of the most lucrative businesses to venture into in this region.

Maritime Piracy in the Malacca and Singapore straits

The Malacca and Singapore straits situated in the westernmost corner of Malaysia are the busiest shipping superhighways in the world. More than 120,000 cargo ships pass through these waterways and the amount accounts for almost a third of the entire global shipping commerce. Between eighty percent of all the oil that is imported by China and Japan is transported through the Malacca and Singapore Straits, which explains why the Straits are some of the most highly impacted by the plague of maritime piracy.

Maritime piracy in Indonesia

Indonesia is another region that is also extremely affected by piracy. The most dangerous pirate prone zones in Indonesia include the Merundung Islands, Anambas, and Natuna islands. Indonesia enjoys 95,000 km of coastline which is very hard to patrol as a result of petty regional politics and limited government resources. Maritime piracy in Indonesia is expected to get worse if the threat continues to remain unchecked.

Maritime piracy in Somalia

Somali pirates in the West Indian Ocean used to be world’s most dangerous before the pirates of South East Asia took over. Pirates in Somali are usually forced into the business as a result of extreme poverty, civil wars, as well as lack of support from the government. Piracy in the Indian Ocean has reduced drastically over the years, but a few incidences are still reported every year.

Maritime piracy in Nigeria

The threat of pirates in Nigeria is so high that it often classified as one of the most dangerous areas for marine cargo ships to transverse. The Nigerian government provides security for vessels that are transversing its waters but the security and maritime protection that is provided is lacking at best, which causes sea piracy in the region to intensify even further. For global shippers to move their cargo through Nigerian waters, they have to invest in high insurance covers to protect valuable cargo in transit.

Maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

Most of the crude oil being transported to various parts of Europe and North America are usually transported through the Gulf of Guinea. As such, it is an extremely popular target for pirates situated in North Africa.

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