Latest Oceans Beyond Piracy Report Notes Factors Behind 50% Reduction in Cost of Somali Piracy

Latest Oceans Beyond Piracy Report Notes Factors Behind 50% Reduction in Cost of Somali Piracy

  • Study finds that cost of Somali piracy has fallen nearly 50% to $3.2 Billion

  • While suppression has effectively countered Somali piracy, only 1½ percent of cost is invested in long-term solutions ashore

  • The Human Cost remains significant:

    • In West Africa - increasing numbers of seafarers are kidnapped

    • In Somalia - 54 hostages have been held for an average of nearly 3 years.

London, Thursday 8th May 2014: Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a project of One Earth Future Foundation, is launching 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 occurring off the coast of Somalia, as well as in the Gulf of Guinea.

The study finds that attacks by Somali pirates are increasingly rare, and that, at between $3 billion to 3.2 billion, the overall economic costs of Somali piracy are down almost 50 percent from 2012. However, at least 50 hostages remain in captivity, held on average for nearly three years under deplorable conditions.

Regarding  Africa’s  West Coast, this report is the first comprehensive attempt by any organization 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.

The  media  are  invited  to  attend  the  report’s  launch,  due  to  start  at  9:00am  on   Thursday 8th May  at  the  Army  &  Navy  Club  (‘The  Rag’),  36  Pall  Mall,  London,  SW1Y  5JN.     The event will include a panel discussion of counter-piracy experts, moderated by OBP Senior Fellow, Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent. The panel will include Jens Vestergaard Madsen of OBP, Simon Church of the Maritime Security Centre, Horn of

Africa, and Giles Noakes and Peter Sand of the international shipping association, BIMCO. The panel will present the main findings of the report as well as discuss the main piracy trends off the east and west coasts of Africa and take questions from the audience.

“The  efforts  of  the  international  community  and  the  shipping  industry have considerably  reduced  the  threat  of  Somali  piracy,”  says  Jens  Madsen,  one  of  the  report’s   authors.  “But  we  have  yet  to  achieve  the  goal  of  ‘Zero/Zero’  – zero vessels captured and zero  hostages  held,”  he  adds.    The  study  finds  that  while  the  combined  economic costs of suppressing Somali piracy are markedly down, there has only been a slight increase in the investment in long-term solutions ashore. Research also shows that the shipping industry increasingly relies on individualized risk mitigation, observed in the decreased use of some of the more expensive anti-piracy measures such as increased speed and re-routing. Shippers are also turning to smaller and less expensive teams of armed guards as the perceived risk of piracy is declining.

While attacks by Somali pirates have declined sharply, with no large vessels taken in 2013, there are still, however, at least 50 hostages in captivity, who have been held on average for nearly three years under deplorable conditions. At the same time, regional and local seafarers and fishermen in the region remain at high risk as pirates continue to target locally operated vessels to facilitate larger attacks.

Turning  to  maritime  piracy  off  Africa’s  west  coast,  the  study  finds  that  a  critical   lack of reporting on both the piracy and maritime crime here makes analysis difficult. “Piracy  in  the  Gulf  of  Guinea  is  fundamentally  different  to  that  taking  place  in  the Indian   Ocean,”  says  Mr.  Madsen.    “We  observe  not  only  a  high  degree  of  violence  in  the   attacks in this region, but also the lack of a mutually trusted reporting architecture and the constantly evolving tactics of West African piracy makes it extremely difficult to isolate  it  from  other  elements  of  organized  maritime  crime.”    

The report notes it is generally agreed the solution to piracy ultimately lies in building up capacity onshore, but it stresses that relatively little investment has been made  towards  sustainable  solutions.  “While  I  am  encouraged  that  more  money  is  being   spent on longer-term solutions ashore, these still only represent the equivalent of 1½ percent  of  the  total  annual  cost  of  the  piracy,”  says  Marcel  Arsenault,  Chairman  of  One   Earth  Future  Foundation.    “Until  we  have  more  economic  opportunity  and  better   governance ashore, we risk piracy returning to previous levels as soon as the navies and guards  have  gone  home.”  


For further information on the report, please contact Jens Madsen at For media coordination, contact Rita Payne at or on +44(0)7834845240. For inquiries in the US, please contact Maisie Pigeon at +1-303-533-1708.