Somali pirates just hijacked an oil tanker. Here’s what pirates want — and where they strike.

Interesting piece by 

They say piracy has almost ended in Somali but has picked up in Nigeria and Philippines:

There were fewer than 200 maritime pirate attacks in 2016, the lowest level in more than 20 years. Total global incidents declined nearly 22 percent from 2015 — and nearly 60 percent from 2010, when Somali piracy captured the world’s attention.

But violent pirate attacks increased in two places: the Celebes and Sulu Seasbetween the Philippines and East Malaysia, and the Gulf of Guinea off the Nigerian coast. In both places the number of pirate attacks more than doubled last year and were closely linked to rebel movement.

Some piracy hot spots — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Vietnam — all experienced significantly less piracy in 2016 compared to 2015. Even more remarkable has been the virtual elimination of piracy around Somalia, where the Greater Gulf of Aden was for many years the most dangerous area for seafarers (see Figure 1).


There is a vicious cycle between land conflicts and piracy:

Political violence in the Philippines and Nigeria today helps create an environment where illicit trade in stolen cargo and kidnapping for ransom yield sizable rewards with a low risk of capture.The golden age of marine predation in the 17th and 18th centuries was incentivized by similar conditions. Near-constant European warfare produced political instability, war economies, corruption and incessant smuggling — and a thriving piracy trade.

Our research suggests that 21st century counter-piracy operations and conflict resolution efforts on land will be more effective if employed concurrently. Eradicating piracy remains difficult when the conflict continues on land, while resolving civil war is especially challenging when the availability of resources on the high seas motivate perpetual fighting.


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