Given the enormous importance of maritime trade to the world trading system, there are significant concerns about the ramifications of a terror attack. Recent incidents with firing at oil refineries or gas terminals, as well as on container or cargo ships, also in maritime choke points as well as hijacking and kidnapping incidents, have raised awareness for maritime attacks. At the same time, views differ on whether the phenomenon is exaggerated or relevant. I argue that to judge this, one first needs to understand the true characteristics and potential of the global risk represented by maritime terrorism which, in turn, is a prerequisite for deciding on maritime security governance measures. Using the strongest terrorism criteria, to retrieve only the cases where there is essentially no doubt of terrorism and including only successful attacks with tangible effects, 72 cases were found and evaluated for the years 2010–2017. This essay argues that a more specified analysis of the region and actor context could lead to a more specific response.
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