Maritime piracy confrontations across the globe: Can crew action shape the outcomes?
The recent tightening of military budget constraints has called into question the feasibility of costly multilateral naval intervention used to combat maritime piracy off the eastern coast of Africa. Though past studies agree that the transformation of the Somali economy and government is crucial for a long-term solution to piracy in this part of the world, short to medium-run solutions are needed to bridge the gap. Such solutions should be fiscally sensible and serve as effective deterrents, as well as be applicable in addressing the problem of piracy and maritime armed robbery in other parts of the globe. This paper builds upon the foundations laid in Mejia et al.  and Mileski et al.  by examining the following question: given that a ship is engaged by pirates, what factors help shape the outcome of the confrontation? This study finds that observable action taken on the part of a ship's crew is extremely effective in decreasing the risk of a ship being successfully robbed or hijacked. There has yet (as of May 2014) to be a reported incident where pirates successfully hijacked a vessel that had a security team on board, and so though the effectiveness of security in this matter can be inferred, it cannot be empirically tested (the same is true – in this study's dataset – of the effect of onboard security on deterring robberies). This may provide some guidance for policymakers; if naval intervention is to be scaled back, the encouragement and oversight of shipping companies’ crew response procedures (and perhaps of onboard security measures) by international governments could pose a valid alternative.
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