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The Modern Maritime Piracy and the Legal Action Against It



Modern pirate attacks look very different to what we see in movies and on TV. Pirates are not mythical creatures anymore. They use sophisticated weaponry and often attack from smaller motorboats. Many fishermen in poor countries have migrated to full-time piratery after realizing that the fishing fine is far more productive than the fish.


This critical problem of Maritime Blog piracy has been a concern for the global community for many centuries. Pirates no longer seek gold or treasures. In the past decades, pirates have targeted ships carrying goods or oil. Many times the passengers of the ships were taken hostage to pay large ransoms.


The pirates' attacks are most common in four areas: the Gulf of Aden near Somalia, the southern entrance of the Red Sea, and the Malacca Strait connecting Indonesia and Malaysia; and the Gulf of Guinea near Nigeria and Niger River delta.


According to the IMB's 2011 Report, Somali pirates are the greatest threat to global piracy. They have moved further off the Somali coast into the Indian Ocean off Seychelles, the Maldives and further south along East African coasts off Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique. Somali pirates have used hijackings and kidnappings, which last an average of six month, to obtain large ransoms. Because pirates want to keep their hostages alive, they don't resort to violent tactics. The average ransom payment to Somali pirates was $5 million in 2011. This means that they are the second-largest source of money in Somalia with more than $200 million annually.


Other areas, like the Gulf of Guinea, are also affected by pirate attacks. Pirates take oil tankers and sell it on the black market.



Piracy in South-East Asia has been focused on ransoming cargo fishing products. Although attacks in the South China Sea declined in 2011, incidents in Indonesia increased for the second consecutive year. These attacks have mostly taken place in Malacca Strait. This is where 30 percent of world trade (VOA), and half of world oil shipments pass.


Legal Definition of Maritime Piracy


Any illegal act of violence or detention committed by private parties on the high seas against another ship, person, or property aboard such ship is called piracy. The offense must be committed in an area that is not under the jurisdiction of any one nation. It is illegal to participate in voluntary acts with knowledge or inciting or faciliting such acts.



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