Ebook: Piracy and Maritime Terrorism: Logistics, Strategies, Scenarios
For much of history, pirates and buccaneers constituted one of the most serious threats to maritime activities all over the world. More recently, apart from adventure stories and swashbuckling films, maritime piracy was largely thought of as a thing of the past. This began to change in 1994 when an article in the Far Eastern Economic Review drew public attention to the renaissance of a phenomenon: piracy was back, and it was becoming increasingly violent, involving huge ships in international waters. This book is based on the proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop, held in 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal. Its main purpose was to promote dialogue on the phenomenon of maritime piracy between international policymakers, law enforcement officers, port authorities and other professionals, and to provide a response to the need for research and analysis at an international level on maritime piracy and its connection to terrorism. The book does not simply report on the proceedings of the workshop, but also includes some new topics not covered by the ARW, and is organized in three sections: new methodological approaches to maritime threats; new threats and new challenges in piracy and maritime terrorism and lastly; some selected case studies: different threats, different solutions. The book offers qualified ideas, opinions and talking points to the international practitioner community, will foster debate and help law enforcement agencies and policymakers to face the new world wide maritime threats of piracy and terrorism.
This book is based mainly on the proceedings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 2009 Advanced Research Workshop (NATO ARW) titled “Piracy and Maritime Terrorism: Logistics, Strategies, Scenarios”. The NATO ARW was held in Lisbon, Portugal from 19 to 22 May, 2009. It was organised and directed by Dr. Silvia Ciotti Galletti from Italy and Dr. Nabi Abdullaev from Russia. Sponsored by NATO, the workshop was co-sponsored by St. John International University (Italy/USA) and by Geotechnos (Italy).
The workshop was attended by key speakers and participants representing eighteen different countries. They were from academia, law enforcement agencies, navies, and port authorities as well as industry. The main objectives of the NATO ARW were to promote dialogue and cooperation on piracy and maritime terrorism among states, institutions, law enforcement agencies and private companies (such as insurance or shipping companies); compare information and data; share case studies; examine good practices and failures; present adopted solutions and proposals; and create links and partnerships in order to stimulate cooperation among different law enforcement agencies and upgrade the knowledge of people involved.
After a long period of history in which pirates (as well as buccaneers and other public maritime dangers) constituted one of the most serious threats to maritime activities all over the world, in recent decades the word piracy all but disappeared. In fact, until 1994, the only piracy mentioned was that connected with illegal duplication and production of software and audio and video products. But in August 1994 an article appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong which drew public attention to a renaissance of the phenomenon, something already known about by people working in the fields of maritime safety and security: piracy was back. And even though in 2001 a research paper presented at the annual European Society of Criminology conference held in Toledo, Spain considered maritime piracy a limited phenomenon concerning a few minor cases in the Far East, more serious data collected by law enforcement agencies since the mid-90s reveal many, and increasingly violent, attacks, which also involve huge ships in international waters.
Both the International Maritime Organisation (IMO, a United Nations specialised agency) and the International Maritime Bureau (IMB, a specialised division of the International Chamber of Commerce) provide regular statistical data and reports on acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Their data differ slightly due to different collection methodologies and interpretations. IMO data are provided by member governments and international organisations, while IMB reports are based on data provided to the Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Official piracy data should be approached with some caution, due to interpretative discrepancies, and also because many acts of piracy go unreported. Shipping companies fear raising their insurance premiums and prompting high-profile, time-consuming investigations. Therefore, the precise extent of piracy is unknown.
In recent years, new data and information have revealed not only an increase in pirate activity all over the world (particularly in certain hot spots and chokepoints), but also a huge increase in the use of violence, with greater loss of life, equipment, cargo and vessels: losses which are no longer affordable. It is a fact that many goods, including oil, weapons and chemicals, are transported without adequate protection; and it is also a fact that modern pirates seem to have reliable information about vessels, cargoes, and routes (and often very good contacts among the crews).
New maritime piracy is a modern phenomenon, and it is not easy to understand every aspect and implication. Most of all, it is not possible to say if modern pirates (especially the better organised amongst them) are connected to international organised crime, or to terrorist groups. If the better-organised pirates groups can be considered organised crime groups in themselves, it is more difficult to understand the real bonds that tie piracy and maritime terrorism. This issue is extremely important, particularly after the failure in August 2006 of some terrorist attacks organised in the UK against planes leaving from Heathrow airport: ports and harbours are subject to less stringent controls, and nowadays it is easier to attack a ship or a coastal city than an airplane. And terrorist groups are conscious of this possible, cheaper and easier attack solution.
In fact, an adequate fight against maritime piracy and terrorism is not so easy. Problems of maritime competence, territorial waters, differing resources (human, military, economic and so on) and other issues create a complex arena in which it is difficult for law enforcement agencies to locate and follow pirates and terrorists freely. Meanwhile pirates and terrorists exploit maritime limits and borders in order to escape and hide, leaving coast guards and military ships behind. There are many objective difficulties, and current international law is not sufficient to handle the situation, in particular owing to the scarce application of approved agreements and conventions (such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Montego Bay, 10 December 1982), and to the necessity of ad hoc agreements for specific areas and countries.
It is important to consider the value of international practical cooperation in this matter, and the potential role of existing organisations, alliances, cooperation agreements, and law enforcement agencies. Indeed, given the difficulties that existing organisations and conventions are facing in order to become truly effective, it may not be financially feasible to create new law enforcement agencies and new special institutes or maritime corps to fight the new threats. New organisations require time and resources to become operative and practically efficient, as well as general agreement and approval among all the official actors involved in their creation, maintenance and organisation. To obtain all of this for a new start-up organisation would be a utopia, and in the meantime we would lose much time while pirates and terrorists continued their illegal activities.
Difficulties are mostly connected with control and authority over the maritime hot spots and chokepoints all over the world.
We have to remember that more than 80% of world trade is conducted at sea. More than 50,000 large vessels and some 4000 major ports make up the global maritime transport system, and a successful maritime attack could have a potentially huge effect on the international economy. In identifying the world's hot spots, we can use data on the locations of piracy and maritime terror incidents, threat warnings by international maritime organisations, and strategic analysis of the world's most vulnerable sea areas and routes.
Maritime targets present logistical complications and require specialised skills and knowledge, and therefore land-based targets are still preferred by terrorists. However, some analysts have begun to suggest that ‘threat displacement’ effects could occur as a result of target hardening on land. A successful maritime attack could have a devastating effect on world trade.
Acts of piracy are a great threat not only to nations and international organisations such as the UN, but also to the private sector and the world's economy. Since about ten years ago, maritime, transport and insurance companies have been facing losses and threats which are hitting their activities and businesses heavily, increasing expedition costs and reducing profits.
Pirates' favourite targets are, of course, private vessels transporting valuable goods. Maritime vessels are ‘soft’ targets, because they are huge, slow moving and difficult to protect. Under current IMO law it is forbidden for merchantmen to carry firearms for self-protection; usually, only Russian and Israeli ships carry guns. Furthermore, efficiency developments in shipping logistics towards skeleton crews render ships even more vulnerable. The latest Vessel Tracking Information Systems (VTIS) are making it easier and easier for anyone to discover the precise locations of ships at any point. For example, AISLive.com provides online real-time vessel positional information for a small subscription fee.
Ninety per cent of cargo moves in containers, and only around 5% of these containers are currently inspected, although this figure is increasing every year as security measures improve. Six million loaded containers, including 156 million tons of hazardous material and 1 billion tons of petroleum products, enter U.S. ports every year. The complexity of the supply chain process for completing containerised shipments make it extremely difficult to ensure the integrity of cargo. A typical container shipment may involve a multitude of parties and generate 30 to 40 documents. Most container ships carry cargo for several customers, thus multiplying the parties and documents further. Each transfer is a point of vulnerability in the supply chain, and therefore security and trustworthiness of each party and location is crucial for overall security.
Since 9/11, container security has begun to receive a lot of attention, as analysts have raised the possibility of a dirty bomb being smuggled via container.
As we can see, the threats to private maritime transportation are not only connected to piracy but also to terrorism. Therefore, it is increasingly relevant to analyse the possible connection between the two phenomena, cooperation, exchanges, and coincidences.
To obtain a clear and reliable analysis of the situation, research and debates should focus on targets, ports and harbours, authors, victims, communications, fighting and prevention, logistics, scenarios, tactics, attack techniques, and financing. They should give great attention to existing normative and possible future proposals, attempting to create new possibilities for cooperation amongst people belonging to law enforcement agencies, international organisations and so on.
The NATO workshop provided a response to the need for research and analysis at an international level on the topics of maritime piracy and terrorism, and to the request for real dialogue opportunities among law enforcement agencies. As we said, the purpose was to compare information and data, share case studies, examine good practices and failures, present adopted solutions and proposals, and create links and partnerships, thus stimulating cooperation among different law enforcement agencies and upgrading the knowledge of people involved.
Participants established closer working relationships, shared technical assistance, stimulated debate and moved towards solutions. Many of them came from countries directly concerned by these phenomena, as well as from other NATO and partner countries. They included technical experts from the civil service, banking, academia, judiciary, police, customs and military.
When we started to work on this book, we soon understood that to simply report on the ARW proceedings would not be very useful. In fact, regarding some topics such as port security, it was not possible to give many details about the strategies and technical solutions adopted, in order to avoid possible dual use of the information by terrorists or even pirates. Moreover, many industries were not willing to communicate details regarding their products, in order to avoid a kind of industrial espionage. On the other hand, for about ten years there has been plenty of data, statistics and information describing pirates attacks. It was pointless to make a kind of list of attacks and events, simply naming the attacked vessels, number of victims, kind of cargo and so on. All this information can be easily found on the Internet, or in papers and official IMO and IMB reports and documents.
The aim of the NATO ARW was different. The main idea was to help all the professionals, policy makers, law enforcement officers, port authorities and so on to meditate seriously on these phenomena, examine them deeply, and most of all understand their inner characteristics. In fact, even if well-organised piracy has many elements in common with organised crime, it has many particular characteristics that make it a very singular phenomenon. We could say the same thing for maritime terrorism, compared to ‘common’ terrorism. This is why we decided not only to include the main representative ARW papers, but also to give a special structure to the book, including some brand new topics. And this is why this book required so much time and effort.
The book is organised in three parts:
1. New methodological approaches to maritime threats;
2. Piracy and maritime terrorism. New threats, new challenges;
3. Different threats, different solutions. Some selected case studies.
The first part is probably the most innovative. It includes three papers regarding methodological solutions that can be very useful in the field of maritime threats. The first is about a particular methodology inspired by and connected to situational crime prevention that has been experimented for port security. The second is about forecasting border clashes, which are one of the main causes of instability in many countries and therefore closely connected to piracy and maritime terrorism. Finally, the third is an introduction to early warning, which is absolutely fundamental in order to avoid clashes, conflicts, the collapse of states and the recurrence of situations like that of Somalia.
The second part is about piracy and maritime terrorism in general. We examined these phenomena, first according to their general aspects and then from different and particular viewpoints, considering original issues such as as crew training (both legal and pirate crews) and the post-traumatic stress disorder affecting many crew members who have been victims of pirate attacks.
Finally, the third part concerns some selected case studies. As said before, it is very easy to find information about attacks and single ships and vessels on the web, especially if we consider the most famous (or rather, infamous) events. In this section, however, we decided to consider very particular cases and strategies connected mainly to piracy. They have been examined deeply, trying not only to give explanations but also to propose possible solutions through the analysis of good practices.
It is obviously not possible to give a comprehensive overview of these phenomena in one book. It would require at least an encyclopaedia, and probably that would not be enough. We hope that this book will foster debate around these topics, offering some qualified ideas, opinions and talking points to the international practitioner community, and helping law enforcement agencies and policy makers to face the new worldwide maritime threats.
Silvia Ciotti Galletti
The Editor would like to thank Mrs. Suzanne Wetzel Colosi for her valuable contribution to the revision of the texts. Her professional support in the review of the English language of the papers was fundamental to the success of this book.
During the last ten years, issues connected to security (or organisational resilience) have become more and more relevant. After years of research, data gathering and analysis, and after the first proposed and implemented solutions, it is actually clear that this issue is highly relevant worldwide and necessitates a multilevel and multidisciplinary approach. In fact, criminal, geopolitical, social, cultural and, in some cases, religious issues are deeply involved in criminal phenomena, connected to local political instabilities, poverty, and terrorism as well as organised crime and piracy. Only a new methodology, aimed at a global approach to this problem, and strictly practical-oriented, can help us to implement quick and effective solutions, especially if a situational prevention approach is adopted as a main guideline. In this paper, a global and integrated methodology is presented. This methodology adopts different techniques, software and approaches to support decision makers according to the following phases: 1) data gathering and analysis; 2) realisation of integrated situational prevention solutions; 3) validation of these solutions; 4) final validated, integrated situational prevention solutions. Different aspects are involved in this new methodology, originally developed for maritime security and anti-piracy activities, and there are different possible outcomes as well as various fields in which it can be used for security and crime prevention.
The role of perceptions, values and ideas, and how they interact with the systemic constrains of the international system, under the perspective of the most important theories of International relations; a new way of analyzing international politics, using a qualitative approach, in order to forecast border clashes trends and the alternation between war and peace.
Since the creation of the United Nations, the ban of the use of force has been collectively viewed as a founding principle of relations between states. However, the end of the Cold War and the strengthening of multilateral international institutions' role in conflict management has not resulted in a general and lasting commitment to the traditional principles of collective security. The use of force has been states' most evident strategy, but it is not the only approach. Actually, conflict prevention has been investigated outside the spotlight by academic circles, international organisations, and governmental institutions as an alternative option for the management of crisis situations. Conflict prevention is neither a new policy nor a new technical tool for avoiding war. Rather, it is a different approach to using existing tools of conflict management, and employing early warning systems. This paper investigates the development of the early warning concept and its application to the sphere of conflict management.
The three greatest and deep-seated problems common to maritime transportation and harbour security are direct results of human behaviour and may be divided into the categories of piracy, terrorism and organised crime.
In this paper, due to time and space constraints, only terrorism and piracy will be discussed. Organised crime will not be addressed because it so complicated that warrants being dealt with separately.
The analysis will begin by focusing on our present knowledge of current state and international legislation, and will attempt to answer the following questions: What is the current situation of maritime terrorism and piracy, and what kinds of future developments may be expected? Particular attention will be paid to cyber warfare, which can be considered today's and tomorrow's single most crucial threat to the maritime system.
The Black Sea region has undergone considerable changes over the last decade. Concisely, a dynamic maritime security environment has emerged. A process of transformation has commenced in order to adapt the Maritime Security System (MSS) to the widening definition of the term “security”. As a result, the centralised Bulgarian MSS, which was dominated by the Navy, has been replaced by a multi-component model in order to achieve a synergy effect through the MSS components' shared efforts. As a result, a capability gap has arisen in the network-organised MSS, especially regarding countering maritime terrorism. This paper proposes an approach for terrorist organisation analysis based on the understanding that any element threatening maritime security evolves following the logical sequence from a challenge, a risk, to a threat.
While analysing the organisation of terrorism and studying its emergence and evolution, we must conclude that almost nothing about terrorism can be stated for sure, except that it is violent, unpredictable, and invisible. In short, terrorism is something asymmetric to everything we know. Focusing on the question of how to organise the Maritime Security System (MSS), this paper proposes a set of recommendations concerning MSS architecture, derived from an analysis of terrorist organisations. Basic considerations for the analysis are provided by analysing asymmetry in terms of countering terrorism. In conclusion, this paper presents a model for a harbour protection system, developed within a national project. The model explores centralising a network-organised MSS, at a level immediately above the terrorist threat level.
Although international peace and security has generally been established in the high seas, piracy and other violent acts are still happening in different parts of world. Unfortunately, the situation has become more serious in the last decade. Violent actions have been committed against various targets, including the energy supply. This paper analyses the reasons for the increase in piracy and maritime terrorist activities, illuminates some problems, and offers solutions for security maintenance and freedom of movement in the high seas.
In the event of attacks against ships and vessels, the role of the crew is absolutely fundamental. Their reactions, or responses to the pirates' actions, can change the result of an attack itself. Unfortunately, for various reasons, often crews are not trained for this kind of threat, their equipment is not adequate, and their reaction can provoke more violence. We have faced increasing violence in pirate attacks in recent years, and the physical and psychological consequences affect crew members for many years after the attacks.
In this presentation we'll try to focus on the training and role of crews during attacks, proposing a deeper analysis of their capabilities in facing new threats.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the physical response to long-term exposure or untreated reactions to a traumatic event. PTSD symptoms vary depending on the type of trauma a person has survived in his or her lifetime and on the severity of the event. PTSD can be a long-term or permanent risk if not treated early with psychotherapy, both for the victim (operating support, if required and possible) and his or her family. When necessary, psychotherapy can be supported by specific pharmacotherapy. One of the primary issues underlying PTSD is the feeling that the person has lost control of his or her personal life. In some cases, he or she seeks relief through alcohol, drug, medication and/or psychotropic drug abuse, but actually the situation is much more serious. The person frequently experiences associated feelings of guilt for what has happened or the way he or she has behaved (or for not having been able to avoid the traumatic event). Also known as a guilt complex or survivor complex, these feelings of guilt are often exaggerated and inconsistent with the facts, and with the sufferer's objective responsibility. Frequently such feelings are also forms of serious depression and/or generalised anxiety; in some cases they produce considerable tension within the family, creating difficulties for the relatives of the person suffering from PTSD.
A quick review around the globe reveals the maritime piracy phenomenon in some key locations where a high volume of ships transit through isolated vulnerable waters. Maritime piracy increases the risk to maritime security through the threat of forcible entry and kidnapping of crews by pirates, holding them and their cargo ransom until payment is received. Such incidents add to the costs of secure transit, in the form of increased insurance rates, personnel security and force protection requirements, in addition to the list of global threats often accepted by commercial shipping firms as part of the cost of doing business. There are other maritime threats of equal or greater concern, such as illicit trafficking of arms, drugs, humans, and even illegal commercial fishing, that must be challenged with a comprehensive, regionally-coordinated effort like the current global counter-terrorism campaign. Any one of these illicit activities could also potentially have a connection to maritime piracy.
In the last few years Nigeria, and particularly its oil-rich Niger Delta region, have sprung up in the ranking of the International Maritime Bureau reports on the piracy world's most dangerous hot spots for maritime and coastal trading. No longer merely directed at assaulting and hijacking vessels, the different criminal groups have gradually shifted from kidnapping oil workers to sabotaging oil company infrastructures. The crude oil industry has been blamed, together with government, for not sharing a fair percentage of the wealth with the local population. This adds a political aspect to the insurgence, transforming it into a political struggle for the control of the Delta's resources. In this paper the origins of this phenomenon are examined, as well as all the actors involved. Finally, some possible solutions and strategies are suggested.
Maritime shipping accounts for 60% of Russia's foreign trade shipments, and not a year goes by without pirates attacking a ship either owned by Russian businessmen or manned by Russian crews. Yet Russian authorities remain reactive rather than proactive when dealing with the threat of piracy and other armed attacks at sea.
This paper discusses the topic of piracy, specifically its most recent developments in the Indian Ocean, with particular focus on the Italian Navy's involvement both nationally and in coalitions.
Indeed, the Italian Navy's significant presence in this area started near the end of the 1980s, with the dispatching of patrol assets to the Persian Gulf to escort national shipping along sea lines.
These activities have allowed significant information gathering on the environment and dynamics of shipping and local traffic in the area.
Actual involvement in piracy-related events started in 1997, with the presence of a naval task group in the Eastern seas.
Following the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Italian Navy began a period of continuous presence with naval assets, for surveillance and counter-terrorism operations throughout the entire USCENTCOM area. This allowed the Navy to continue gathering information. In addition, coalition members interacted with pirates in different occasions under the direction of an Italian Admiral.
In July 2005, two Italian vessels were attacked by pirates in Somalia waters over the span of a week (Jolly Marrone and Cielo di Milano). In response, the Italian government took immediate action, tasking the Navy to dispatch a frigate to the area to conduct a national maritime surveillance and counter-piracy operation nicknamed Mare Sicuro (“Safe Sea”). This initiative provided an important sign to the international community, and the Italian action was also acknowledged by the IMO during the ensuing Muscat conference (January 2006).
Since then, given the dynamics of piracy in the Indian Ocean, the Italian Navy has planned yearly deployments of naval groups to the area (Operation Medal). Besides analysing the most relevant lessons learned and the critical operational issues of these events, this paper aims to point out that piracy is an international crime of asymmetric nature that every navy should be ready to effectively counter in the future, by seeking regional and international cooperation to preserve the freedom of navigation at sea.