Contemporary piracy emerged in the 1980s with globalisation and accelerated in the 1990s with the Asian financial crisis (Samatar, Lindberg & Mahayni 2010). During the 1990s and early 2000s, most of the world’s sea piracy occurred in the shipping lanes of the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Strait. However, by 2008, the East Asian piracy threat had been completely supplanted by piracy off the Horn of Africa (Rowbotham 2011; Chalk 2010; Osler 2012a).
Piracy reached an all-time contemporary high in 2010. According to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center, in 2010, pirates took 1,181 people hostage and killed eight people in attacks on 445 ships; a total of 53 ships were hijacked that year (Goodman 2011). The 2010 piracy attacks represented a 10% increase over 2009. Total global piracy attacks were down slightly in 2011 versus 2010; there were 439 attacks (445 in 2010), 802 crew members taken hostage (1,181 in 2010) and eight people killed (the same number as in 2010); a total of 45 vessels (53 in 2010) were hijacked (Osler 2012a). As of 23 April 2012, there have been 121 total pirate attacks and 13 hijackings worldwide in 2012 (IMBPRC).
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