Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea:

from Somalia to the Gulf of Guinea

Authored by: Clive Schofield , Kamal-Deen Ali

Routledge Handbook of Maritime Regulation and Enforcement

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415704458
eBook ISBN: 9781315890241
Adobe ISBN: 9781134499472


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Piracy and armed attacks against shipping represent a longstanding and enduring threat to maritime trade and safety at sea. Recognised as a hazard to navigation from times of antiquity, the “golden age” of piracy took in the latter part of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries – a period celebrated and embedded in the popular imagination thanks to novels such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, 1 the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn and company, 2 and more recently Johnny Depp et al. in Pirates of the Caribbean. 3 While piracy subsequently declined significantly, in large part thanks to the concerted efforts of the navies of colonial powers keen to secure vital trade routes to possessions overseas, nonetheless piracy and armed robbery at sea was never entirely eradicated. Indeed, there has been a contemporary resurgence in piracy and armed robbery against ships. This has especially been the case in the north-western quadrant of the Indian Ocean and particularly off the Horn of Africa which witnessed a significant and sustained increase in attacks against shipping from 2007. The statistics of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have also been high since 2008, while the dynamics and trends of the incidents are increasingly complex.

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