News Blogmaritime piracy

Latest assessment of piracy in the Indian Ocean

According to a latest assessment, drawn up by the Deputy Secretary General of the UN, before the Security Council, on November 4, there were 438 people and 20 ships detained by pirates, or nearly 100 people detained more in less than 'a month. “Frightening” figures. This despite an increase in anti-piracy operations. Pirates take "increasing risks and showing increasing audacity" he explained. NB: as of November 11, the NGO Ecoterra speaks of 541 hostages and 30 foreign ships captured.

More vessels captured for the first 9 months of 2010 than the previous year

According to the UN Secretary-General's report, there were 164 attacks on ships in the waters off the Somali coast and 37 captures of ships during the first nine months of 2010, compared to 193 attacks and 33 captures respectively during the same period of 2009. But the situation would be “ worse without the presence of the various international maritime coalitions off Somalia »

700 suspects incarcerated

Today, " Some 700 suspects or convicted persons are currently detained in 12 countries, half of them in Somalia itself. assures the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yuri Fedotov.

Of this number, according to our sources and the Brussels “Pirates” database2: 267 were arrested by multinational forces (192 by EUNAVFOR Atalanta, 52 by CTF151 or CTF150, 23 by NATO) (*). 117 were by ships operating in a national capacity: 54 by France, 23 by India, 20 by Russia, 12 by the United States, 8 by Egypt…

Of this number, 291 pirates were tried and convicted, 55 were acquitted. This results in a judgment rate of one in two (which is honest).

More than twice as many pirates were apprehended by multinational forces, disarmed, identified and then released, due to lack of sufficient evidence or host countries. That’s a prosecution rate of around 1 in 3.

Pursue pirates, difficult task

« Pursuing pirates remains difficult », the Secretary General recently recognized in a report published in October. which cites four main reasons: 1° the “ considerable shortcomings » the domestic law of many countries regarding piracy; 2° the difficulties in investigating and calling on witnesses, for most seafarers who regularly change ship and employer; (3) the reluctance of states to provide options for long-term detention, even when they show a willingness to prosecute suspects; finally 4° the existence of international networks for the financing of piracy, which must be dismantled.

(*) Our count is slightly different from the official counts because 1° we do not take into account the change of flag, allowing the same vessel to carry out the arrest and transmission to justice, under two legally different entities ( this covers, roughly, pirates handed over to Puntland by French forces operating under the European flag); 2° when pirates are transferred during an arrest from one ship to another, we only take into account one force (the one which has an agreement allowing the transfer to justice).

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).