Researcher Publications

What Do Pirates Want? To Steal Riches at Sea So They Can Pay for Wars On Land

By Brandon Prins, Ursula Daxecker, and Anup Phayal | Washington Post, Monkey Cage | January 25, 2017

Brandon Prins, Ursula Daxecker, and Anup Phayal. 2017. What Do Pirates Want? To Steal Riches at Sea So They Can Pay for Wars on Land. Monkey Cage, Washington Post. January 25.

There were fewer than 200 maritime pirate attacks in 2016, the lowest level in more than 20 years. Total global incidents declined nearly 22 percent from 2015 — and nearly 60 percent from 2010, when Somali piracy captured the world’s attention.

But violent pirate attacks increased in two places: the Celebes and Sulu Seas between the Philippines and East Malaysia, and the Gulf of Guinea off the Nigerian coast. In both places the number of pirate attacks more than doubled last year and were closely linked to rebel movement.

Some piracy hot spots — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Vietnam — all experienced significantly less piracy in 2016 compared to 2015. Even more remarkable has been the virtual elimination of piracy around Somalia, where the Greater Gulf of Aden was for many years the most dangerous area for seafarers...

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