Maritime piracy has re-emerged as a threat to global trade, particularly off the coast of the failed state of Somalia. NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield is among the counter-piracy missions launched beginning in 2008 by the international community, also including the European Union’s Atalanta mission, the US-led Task Force 151, and independent deployments by China, India, Russia and others. While the Gulf of Aden has been better secured and the success rate of pirate attacks has fallen, pirate networks have launched attacks over a wider territory as ransoms continue to rise. The report gives an overview of the rise and evolution of modern piracy with a focus on Somali piracy and details the international missions. It analyses counter-piracy measures including the use of private or military guards aboard commercial shipping, future coastal operations against the pirate networks (recently authorized by the EU but not yet by NATO), steps to create better conditions on land, building the counter-piracy capacity of regional states and subnational actors in Somalia such as the government of Puntland, and improving the legal framework and infrastructure for pirate prosecution. A positive aspect of counter-piracy operations is that they have fostered better cooperation and contact between NATO and the EU as well as between NATO and emerging powers.
Download this Draft Report in Word or PDF format below.