Political Economy of Piracy in the South China Sea   [open pdf - 119KB]

"In the past two decades it has increased substantially, leading to a renewed interest in piracy and its possible nexus with maritime terrorism, especially after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. Although it has been widely reported and investigated, piracy remains difficult to understand and to control. […]. This article attempts to analyze piracy through the perspective of political economy, with an emphasis on state and market stakeholders and on the economic, technological, and institutional factors affecting ocean governance of piracy. The major area of concern here is the South China Sea, where approximately half of the world's reported incidents of piracy have taken place since the 1990s. Following the usage of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), this estimate includes instances of both piracy as defined under international law--theft on the high seas--and armed robbery or theft in the territorial waters or ports of coastal states. This article will examine the scope and trends in piracy in the South China Sea as well as the factors that motivate this form of maritime crime. It continues with an analysis of the factors that impede antipiracy efforts, including uncertainties over definitions and legal jurisdiction, the underlying dynamics of piracy, and uncoordinated efforts at detection, pursuit, arrest, and conviction of pirates as well as recovery of crew, cargo, or ships. It concludes with an analysis of the limited progress made by state and market stakeholders to improve antipiracy security in the vital shipping lanes of the South China Sea."

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Naval War College: http://www.usnwc.edu/
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Naval War College Review (Summer 2009), v.62 no.3, p.43-58
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