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Somali Piracy and Anti-Shipping Activity Messages: Lessons for a Successful Counterpiracy Strategy

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Doctoral thesis

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The purpose of this non-experimental, mixed methods case study is to analyze the reasons for the decline in piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia in order to present an effective counterpiracy template for other piracy prone parts of the world, such as Western Africa and Southeast Asia. The first phase of the study includes a quantitative examination of piracy incident reporting from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agencys NGA Anti-Shipping Activity Messages ASAM database. The quantitative strand documents the trend in piracy incidents off the Horn of Africa over a ten-year period between 2003 and 2013. The second phase of the study analyzes qualitative data collected from piracy subject matter experts SMEs to determine the most effective counterpiracy actions taken. The qualitative strand identifies and scrutinizes all the major counterpiracy actions. A comparison and contrast against the quantitative data trend reveals which efforts worked best. The insights provided by SMEs, through face-to-face interviews or an online questionnaire provide an increased understanding of the factors contributing to the decline of Somali piracy. The study implies the use of armed security teams ASTs on board merchant vessel was the number one factor leading to the decline in Somali piracy. This finding provided the guiding principle for the development of a strategic counterpiracy framework that engages the issue at the political level, the maritime domain security level, and the shipboard security level.

Subject Categories:

  • Surface Transportation and Equipment
  • Military Intelligence

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