Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a project of One Earth Future Foundation, has launched the fourth installment of its annual reports detailing the economic and human costs of African maritime piracy. The study titled ‘The State of Maritime Piracy 2013’ examines the costs incurred as a result of piracy off the coast of Somalia as well as in the Gulf of Guinea.
GMI student Dirk Siebels has provided unique insights about the private maritime security industry for the report. For his PhD research about maritime security issues in East and West Africa, he is working in close cooperation with the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) and large flag states, collecting data about armed security teams on merchant vessels.
The new OBP report finds that attacks by Somali pirates are increasingly rare an that, at between $3 billion to $3.3 billion, the overall economic costs of Somali piracy are down almost 50 percent from 2012. Regarding Africa’s west coast, this report is the first comprehensive attempt by any organisation to quantify the total economic cost of maritime piracy in that region. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea remained a significant danger in 2013, says the report, with levels perpetuated by a lack of open reporting and a lack of coordinated effort among stakeholders.
At $1 billion to $1.2 billion, the costs for security equipment and armed guards are significantly lower than in 2012 but are now the largest chunk. Moreover, they are a significant burden on the shipping industry. While there have been a lot of efforts towards regulation and certification for private maritime security companies, it is still a very young industry and only very few reliable figures are available.
‘The statistical data I have gathered together with SAMI and other sources is an invaluable contribution to ongoing discussions about private security at sea,’ says Dirk Siebels. Over the past couple of months, he has presented his research findings at various conferences and registered a lot of interest, both from the commercial sector and from government organisation.
The new OBP report ‘The State of Maritime Piracy 2013’ can be found here:
To find out more about Dirk’s research, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.