Fresh Thinking for an Old Problem: Report of the Naval War College Workshop on Countering Maritime Piracy   [open pdf - 111KB]

"The International Law Department of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, conducted a counter-piracy workshop on 7 and 8 April 2009. Comprising [of] fifty legal and policy experts from across the globe, the workshop captured a number of findings and vetted recommendations for continuing the effort against maritime piracy. The participants "took away" four major findings. First, it was apparent to them that piracy in the Horn of Africa has emerged from a complex political, economic, and cultural milieu. No single response will solve the problem. Second, regional capacity building and collective maritime action will be required to contend with the challenge of piracy so long as pirates enjoy sustained sanctuary in Somalia. Proposals to stop piracy by "fixing" Somalia, however, beg the question of how to go about the task, as it is doubtful that the international community has the capability or will to transform Somalia quickly into a stable and viable state. Third, the participants were convinced that only the major maritime powers have the skill and resources to help the regional states expand coastal and littoral maritime-security capability rapidly. Security assistance to the regional states, including training and provision of patrol craft, can shift responsibility for counter-piracy to the states of the neighborhood. Eventually, these states should acquire and operate offshore patrol vessels, even corvettes. Shifting responsibility for maintaining rule of law at sea to the regional powers, the workshop felt, benefits everyone. Finally, the civil shipping industry should take a greater role in protecting merchant vessels, including integrating passive design measures that make it more difficult for pirates to board a ship. In some cases, this means that provision of private armed security may be appropriate. The workshop was designed to take a fresh look at the threat of maritime piracy off the Horn of Africa, assess the tremendous progress in international law and diplomacy that has transpired to address the problem, and consider the way forward."

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Retrieved From:
United States Naval War College (USNWC): http://usnwc.edu
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Naval War College Review (Autumn 2009), v.62 no.4, p.141-154
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Listed on December 16, 2009 [Critical Releases]
Listed on Sea Piracy [Featured Topic]