H.7.1 Introduction

International crime at sea is frequent and includes:

  • piracy,
  • illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU),
  • smuggling of narcotic drugs, agricultural products and other goods,
  • trafficking in humans,
  • dumping and pollution.

Often, they are transnational organized crimes that undermine local and national economies, destroy the environment, and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of the public. When committed at sea these maritime crimes can be divided into four categories:[1]

1. Criminal actions directed at vessels or maritime structures, such as piracy and sea robbery.

2. Criminal actions enabled through the use of the seas such as trafficking and smuggling of people and goods.

3. Criminal actions violating coast states sovereignty such as illegal fishing and unauthorized entrance of a state’s internal waters.

4. Criminal actions violating international law, such as dumping and pollution.

Organized crimes are big business, with drug trafficking, piracy, small arms & light weapons, human trafficking and organ trafficking being the most profitable along with illegal, unregulated fishing.

H.7.2 Maritime Piracy


Perhaps it was thought that pirates belonged to a bygone era embodied by pirates such as Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver. However, piracy in modern times is a lucrative business performed with automatic weapons and high-speed motorboats. The piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, conducted by Somali pirates against international shipping, suddenly highlighted the problem of piracy and paved the way for an international intervention by the UN Security Council in 2008.  

Today, the most dangerous piracy attacks occur in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa but piracy is also on the rise in Asia, Indonesia, the Singapore straits, the Bay of Bengal, the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea and Sulawesi (Celebes), as well as in South America and in the Caribbean. [2]

What is Maritime Piracy

Maritime piracy is an international crime, defined in the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), Art.101 as ‘acts of  violence  or  detention,  or  depredation, committed  for  private  ends  by  the  crew  or  passengers  of  a  private  ship or a private aircraft; directed  against  another  ship, or aircraft;  on the  high  seas  or  outside  the  jurisdiction  of  any  state’.

Thus, the definition of  maritime  piracy  in  the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS)  only  covers  acts  committed  on  the  high  seas  or  outside  the  jurisdiction  of  any state. UNCLOS  has  been  ratified  or  acceded  to  by 168 parties, which  makes  it  one  of  the  most  widely accepted international conventions.  Moreover, the prohibition on maritime piracy is a peremptory norm in public international law, jus cogens.[3] Jus cogens are peremptory  rules  from which  no  derogation  is  permitted,  and  that  take  primacy  over all other norms in international law, to cite from the widely accepted definition of jus cogens norms in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, from 1969, Art.53.

[1] The prohibition on piracy give rise to universal jurisdiction being an erga omnes obligation. Erga omnes means that all states can claim jurisdiction over acts of piracy. All this shows how important the prohibition on piracy is.

The distinction between territorial waters and  international  waters  is crucial  in  establishing whether  a  criminal  act  against  a vessel  constitutes  piracy  under  international  law.  This is because intervention against pirates in the territorial waters of a state is subject  to  national  laws  and  the  criminal  act  is  defined  as ‘armed robbery at sea’. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) provides an established definition of ‘armed robbery at sea’ as

  1. Any illegal act of  violence  or detention  or  any  act  of  depredation,  or  threat  thereof,  other  than  an  act  of  piracy,  committed  for  private ends  and  directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship, within a State’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea;
  2. Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described above.[4]

Actions akin to piracy conducted within a state’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea thus constitute armed robbery at sea and the coastal state will have jurisdiction over such a crime.

Big Business

Maritime piracy is an organized crime and a lucrative business conducted by piracy groups and networks. The global damage caused by piracy is estimated at annual $6.6 to $6.9 billion through commercial fraud, loss of cargo and delays.[5]  Pirates can cause political instability due to the corruption of state officials or by providing a source of income for insurgents and terrorists.[6] As highlighted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), there is an established link between piracy and other maritime crimes, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and the smuggling of oil, drugs, agricultural products and other goods.

Piracy is directly enabled by the socio-economic conditions of coastal states. The presence of weak governments  embroiled  in  political  violence, widespread  economic  hardship  and  easy access to weapons, are conditions that pave the  way for  piracy.[7] A vivid example is Somalia, where law and order broke down 30 years ago and a recent example is Venezuela, where 20 years of an authoritarian regime has led to economic hardship and the dismantling of democratic institutions.[8]

Pirates  are  often  from  a  poor background and/or  fishermen,  organized  by  criminal  networks.  It is estimated that only  about  30%  of  the  loot  or  ransom paid  goes  to  the  individual  pirates,  while  the main  share  is  taken  by  the  piracy  group or network. In cases of armed conflicts when terrorists or insurgents are involved in piracy, such as in Somalia, or in areas of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, such as in Yemen, or in the Philippines, piracy serves as a source of income that feeds their struggle.[9] Most of the UNSC resolutions on Somalia emphasize the need for peace and a functioning state with law and order, as a precondition for the elimination of piracy.

There is a growing trend in violence with pirates using machine guns, grenade launchers, machetes and knifes.[10] Cargo robbery and ship high jacking, as well as crew kidnappings for ransoms are common business for the pirates.[11] It has been suggested that informants are providing pirates with access to ship information making it possible for pirates to locate specific target vessels, which may have cargo of value, in the vast expanses of the sea. 

Piracy Hot Spots

Known hotspots for maritime piracy include Africa and the Red Sea, South East Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent, Latin America and the Caribbean. The East and West African coasts are notorious for the  most  dangerous  piracy  attacks,  carried  out  with automatic  weapons  and  fast-moving  motorboats and with  the  aim  of hijacking vessels  and crew  to obtain  a  high  ransom,  often more than 1  million  USD.[12] These so-called ‘high risk areas’ are in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Guinea.[13]

Although there was an overall decline in piracy incidents in 2019, in 2020-21 there was a sharp rise of 25% in piracy attacks. According to the annual report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were reported in 2020, up from 162 in 2019.[14] The incidents included 3 hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 20 attempted attacks, and 161 vessels boarded. Of 135 sailors abducted globally last year, 130 of them were recorded in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa, the highest ever number of seafarers kidnapped in the region.[15] It is believed that the COVID-19 pandemic is one reason for the rise in piracy.[16]

Combatting Maritime Piracy

There are different ways to fight maritime piracy. One way is by military and law enforcement forces deployed in the area. Such forces can be the coastal state ́s own military and law enforcement that are alerted voluntarily by a ship upon entering a piracy prone area or Voluntary  Reporting  Area (VRA). Examples of this are the Chinese Navy Vessels Escort Arrangement of protection, as well as the Nigerian Navy’s vessel protection.  In some highrisk areas (HRA), a ship can alert joint international military forces deployed due to an international mandate, such as from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The only example of this hitherto, is the international naval forces deployed through UNSC resolutions in Somalia, such as the European Union Naval forces (EUNAVFOR) in the Gulf of Aden. With international agreement between coastal states in a piracy prone area, regional naval forces could also be deployed, based on the ‘Yaoundé Process’ that aims to tackle maritime criminal activity in a regionally coordinated fashion - one example is the regional navy surveillance in the Gulf of Guinea.  

However, it has largely been left to the shipping industry to take precautionary measures against piracy. In the highrisk areas of East Africa, such as the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian ocean, the shipping industry has adopted Best Management Practices (BMP), the most up-to-date is BMP5, to be adopted by ships to mitigate the risk of piracy attacks. These are measures that include risk assessment, planning and drills. An active lookout to identify the course of any suspicious craft in vicinity needs to be in place on board and other ship protection measures may be used, such as,

  • nets,
  • wire,
  • hoses,
  • high intensity sound sources,
  • citadels,
  • CCTV [17]

In addition, the shipping industry is inclined to hire its own vessel protection services. A state can allow for hire security escort vessel (SEV) services using civilian boats or armed navy service members to operate in their waters, such as is the case in Nigeria.[18]  Another method, is that a ship carries its own enforcement protection team to deter and defend against piracy attacks. This may be a team of privately armed security personnel (PCASPs), hired directly by the shipping company, or a vessel protection detachment (VPD),of uniformed military personnel embarked on a vessel with the explicit approval of the Flag State

It is important to note that PCASP are not law enforcement officials, their rules of engagement only allow for self-defence and that their deployment is dependent on flag-state permission. In addition, they need consent to operate from the governments of all states (littoral states) through whose waters the ship may pass. VPD’s are less frequently used but are sometimes provided for in the flag-states national laws as preferrable to PCASPs, because VPD’s are members of    the state’s regular armed forces. The usual number of personnel in PCASPs or VPD’s is two on each ship and they are paid for by the shipowner. Both types of security personnel have repeatedly been shown to be effective against piracy attacks.

Piracy Attacks and the Use of Force

A piracy attack can cause death and severe injuries onboard as a result of the actions of the pirates or security personnel. It is important that armed security personnel are vetted before employment and the maritime industry’s self-regulations contain detailed information on the selection of PCASPs that should include a check of

  • criminal background
  • security and law enforcement service previous employment history
  • medical, physical and mental fitness including any history of drug and alcohol abuse.[19]

It is recommended that one of the PCASP be qualified as the team medic.

Any incident involving the use of force in a piracy or armed robbery attack should generate a post incident report. Any attack against the vessel should be reported immediately to authorities, such as the flag state, and the owner. Soft-law documents on armed security state that any attack should be reported immediately to the UK Maritime Trade Operations Office (UKMTO) in Dubai, and other authorities, as appropriate. The use of firearms needs to be reported to the flag state and a formal written report of the incident shall be completed immediately after the incident for the shipowner/operator to forward to the flag state.  The PMSC is obliged to assist in the investigation, and make formal written records if national law so requires. [20]

H.7.3 Maritime Terrorism

The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) from 1988 was created by the IMO to target maritime terrorism. The SUA responded  to  the  need  to  create jurisdiction  for  crimes  that  fell  outside  of  the definition  of  piracy or  armed  robbery  at  sea,  such  as hijacking,  hostage-taking  and  murder  and is ratified by over 160 states, but some important coastal states are not parties. [21]

This treaty was instigated as a reaction to the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise-ship Achille Lauro by politically motivated terrorists. A faction of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLO) hijacked the Italian liner, during a Mediterranean cruise and took more than 400 passengers and crew hostages. The hijackers threatened to kill the passengers unless Israel released 50 Palestinian prisoners. They also threatened to blow up the ship if a rescue mission was attempted. When their demands had not been met by the following afternoon, the hijackers shot a Jewish US citizen   in a wheelchair, throwing his body overboard . After negotiations, the terrorists sailed into port in Egypt, disembarked and were allowed to leave Egypt. However, the US military intervened and forced the  Egyptian  Aircraft  with  the  PLO terrorists  onboard  to  land  in  Italy  at  a NATO-airbase, attempting to bring  them to  the  United  States  for   trial. However, on the intervention of the Italian authorities, the Palestinians were taken into Italian custody and tried in Italy.[22].

But the world’s oceans have not been a major focus of terrorist activity. According to the RAND Terrorism Database, strikes on maritime targets and assets have constituted only 2% of all international incidents .[23] Many strikes in the 2000s were connected to al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), but also state terrorism from Iran in the Strait of Hormuz..  Despite its small size, the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's most important shipping routes. It has been the scene of a series of shipping incidents in recent years and several vessels have been attacked or seized by Iran. Whilst Iran is a state with territorial waters in the straits, it is not allowed to interfere with the right to innocent passage of international commercial vessels. In the spring of 2019, Iran conducted limpet mine attacks against several merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman. In July 2019, it seized a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz after the UK seized an Iranian-flagged oil tanker near Gibraltar. In 2021Iran seized a Korean oil tanker in the Strait, accusing it of ‘repeated violations of marine environmental laws’. The real reason for the incidents is likely to be the rising tension between Iran and the US as well as with other Gulf States.

H.7.4 Trafficking and Illegal Goods

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances subject to drug prohibition laws.  The illegal drug trade is estimated as nearly 1% of total global trade, with around 269 million people using drugs worldwide in 2018.[24] . In 2020, the drug market had grown by 35%, with both organic and synthetic drugs rising markedly.[25] Vulnerable and marginalized groups, youth, women and the poor, pay the price for the world drug problem. The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when health and social systems have been brought to the brink and societies are struggling to cope. Cannabis was the most used substance in 2018, with an estimated 192 million people using it worldwide. Opioids remain the most harmful and Afghanistan is the producer of 90% of the world’s opium poppy.[26]

Although a wide variety of methods are utilized by drug traffickers in plying their trade, the use of private and commercial vessels has long been significant. The large quantities of illicit substances that make their way across oceans and continents every day, in containers, small boats, and even semi-submergible vessels, make maritime trafficking in drugs a very big business and pose a particular challenge for the authorities. Such vessels are both difficult for the Coast Guard to detect and easy for seafarers to disguise, as they often prefer losing their illegal cargo to being caught.

Key to stopping the traffic is the policy of interception of vessels, both in the territorial waters of the consumer states, on the high seas and even in the territorial waters of the source or transit states. This policy has been effectuated through informal means, that is ad hoc consent of the flag state or of the vessel’s Master (consensual boarding), or through bilateral and multilateral treaties. A state can do hot pursuit of a suspected drug smuggling vessel, following it into the high seas, if the vessel is trying to escape from being boarded in the coastal state’s territorial waters.[27] Maritime seizures of illegal drugs have been more effective than with other transport, they constitute more than 11% of all cases across all drug categories globally.


Illicit firearms are a threat to peace and security. They are big business and much of the illegal arms trade occurs at sea. Trafficked goods include arms and equipment that could be used in the development of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. In 2015, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute revealed how arms dealers targeted western-owned maritime companies.[28] Companies based in the West, primarily commercial lines based in Germany, Greece and the US, own most ships involved in reported cases of trafficking. [29]

Shipping companies can be unwittingly involved in the smuggling operation. It is easy to hide arms in containers on board without the knowledge of the ship owners or Master. A report shows that in cases where the ship owners, operators and Masters appear to have been directly involved in the trafficking attempt, the ships tended to be older and to be sailing under flags of convenience. [30] They regularly performed badly in safety and pollution inspections when they entered ports. However, for some types of ships, such as roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vehicle carriers, where weapons and military equipment, such as tanks or armored personnel carriers are transported, it is unlikely that the company is not complicit in the smuggling operation.

Although, illegal arms trafficking is forbidden, there are ways to escape liability. The company will change the name of the ship, the flag of the vessel, or even the name of the company. In some cases, these vessels are hidden under several layers of anonymity, making it impossible to trace the legal owners. Some effective measures are in place to provide a link to a specific vessel, such as the IMO number that a vessel will carry throughout its lifetime, but even that can be hidden. What is missing, is instituting measures where ships are registered to an identifiable owner with a fixed address.[31]

Another problem is floating armories. Due to national and international laws regarding arms trade, ships are often unable to dock in foreign ports with weapons and ammunition. Thus, floating armories are used in the fight against piracy and function as weapons depots for PCASPs. They operate as weapons and ammunition storage facilities in international waters. By operating solely in international waters, floating armories avoid national and international laws regarding arms trade. There is a significant lack of regulations governing floating armories and this leads to serious safety concerns including a lack of standardized weapon storage, the lack of records documenting the transfer of weapons and ammunitions, and a lack of regulation from flags of convenience.[32]

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is when a person’s movement is controlled by some means, which may be violent or subtle, for the purpose of exploitation.[33] It is forbidden according to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking Protocol),[34] which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has 190 parties.[35]

Forced labor and sexual exploitation can be slavery when people are forced to work, without or with almost nothing as payment, or in debt bondage. It has been noted that ‘the practice of modern-day slavery is hidden under the blanket of ignorance, concealed by a widespread assumption that it was eradicated from our society hundreds of years ago.’[36] The 2015 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report in 2015, estimated that between 27- 45 million men, women, and children have become victims of modern-day slavery in its various forms, including sex trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, and child exploitation.[37]

Victims of human trafficking include children, women and men who are subjected to forced labour or sexual exploitation, with the use of force, fraud or coercion. Often trafficking occurs at sea, with the transportation of victims or the use of forced labor onboard ships and in fishing, as well as exploitation at seaports.

Examples include,

  • when a person is forced to work on board a fishing vessel without payment for prolonged periods. One example is young teenagers from Indonesian villages who are lured into Malaysia with the false pretense that they will make money for their families working as a fishermen. However, they are sold as slave laborers.. They have to work for years onboard without any payment other than food and often at gunpoint. They are usually, too ashamed to flee and go back to their family without any money.
  • forced labor in the sex industry in ports. In seaports in particular, traffickers can take advantage of discrepancies in maritime law in order to exploit their victims. Prostitution can happen at port facilities or onboard docked ships and seafarers are often potential customers.

Victims of human trafficking at sea may be recruited either in their country of origin, at seaports, or on boats of registered flag states, where victims are transferred from one vessel to another while at sea. Trafficked seafarers and fishers may find themselves aboard vessels that are un-flagged or flagged to another state, where they can be exploited by nationals of their own or other states, or suffering abuse and exploitation on the high seas or in waters that fall within the territory of one or various states.[38]  Thus, the jurisdiction is dependent on where the crimes are committed, if on the high seas, the EEZ or in the territorial sea and internal waters. 

Migrants and Refugees

Transnational organized, illegal migration, with trafficking and smuggling of migrants is a criminal lucrative business, where individuals pay millions to be able to start a new life in a new country, but are often misled in their expectations.

The migrant crises that hit the world in 2014-15 filled the media with horrendous reports of migrants being smuggled onboard ships towards Europe and other states. It highlighted the plight of refugees and migrants, many drowning on sinking, overcrowded and non sea worthy ships, or being stranded at sea, not allowed to enter states territorial waters, although they paid large sums to smugglers and shipowners. Search and rescue operations, disembarkation, processing and the identification of solutions for those rescued are re-occurring challenges for States, international organizations, and the shipping industry. More information on migrants, refugees and stowaways can be found in Ch 9.10.

H.7.5 Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

Illegal and unreported marine fishing generates US$15.5 to $36.4 billion annually in illicit profits, and the majority is generated off the coasts of developing countries.[39] It has major environmental, societal, and security impacts in developing countries, particularly in areas where the local economy and the local diet depend on fishing. In other countries, unregulated fishing is a problem and a sensitive issue that can spur into ‘fishing wars’ between Governments. Examples include the cod wars between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s to the 1970s, the Pacific Salmon War, which was a period of heightened tensions between Canada and the United States over the Pacific Salmon catch.in the 1990’s, and recently the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China) in 2016.[40]  

However, this is to be distinguished from organized illegal and unregulated fishing by criminal organizations. Firms that participate in IUU fishing have been linked to other crimes such as the smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of drugs and persons and the poaching and smuggling of ivory and other artefacts. The primary business model uses flags of convenience that provide vessel registration for anyone in the world and typically exercise minimal oversight of the vessels or who the real owner is.[41]

There is a growing trend to recognize the vast problem of illegal fishing. In resolution 2246 (2015) the UNSC emphasizes the link between illegal fishing in Somalia's exclusive economic zone and piracy, and noticing how illegal unregulated fishing can deplete seafood resources..[42]


[1] Maritime Crimes,  Centre of Trust, Peace and Social Relations of Coventry University Homepage.Available from https://www.maritimesecurity.global/multimedia/maritime-crimes/. [Accessed 15 July 2021]

[2] K. Svanberg, The use of private maritime guards as an innovative means to fulfil states duty to cooperate in the repression of maritime piracy, Part 1 and 2, IJMCS:2020:1(2):31-53.31, Katinka Svanberg/Bring, Ove, FN-stadgan och varldspolitiken, Norstedts Juridik, Stockholm, 2019,, p.513. 

[3] Cherif  Bassiouni,  International Crimes:  Jus  Cogens  and  Obligations  Erga  Omnes,  Law  and  Contemporary  Problems, 2006:.59( 4):, 63-74, 68. The ICJ affirmed the existence of jus cogens, in Armed Activities on the Territory of the  Congo  (New  Application;  2002)  (Democratic  Republic  of  the  Congo v. Rwanda),  Jurisdiction  and  Admissibility, Judgment, I.C.J.  Reports (2006), p..31, §. 64, see also, Ion  Diaconu,  Jus  Cogens - Developments  in  International Law, Romanian Journal of International Law, 2016:16:, 36, 40. 

[4] IMO Resolution A.1025(26) (Annex,  para.  2.2), on  IMO's  Code  of  Practice  for  the  Investigation  of  the  Crimes  of Piracy  and  Armed  Robbery (18 Jan.2010). Siti  Noor  Malia  Putri,  Archipelagic State  Responsibility on  Armed Robbery at Sea, Indonesian Journal of International Law, 2017: 14(4): 477-496.  

[5] Cuong Manh Nguyen, Tien Quoc Le, Impact of Piracy on Maritime Transport and Technical Solutions for Prevention, International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, 2019:10(01):958-990.

[6] See e.g. UNSC Res. 2500 (Dec.2019), that notes the complex relationship between illegal and unregulated fishing and piracy in its preamble.

[7] Peter Lehr, Pirates - A New History, from Vikings to Somali Raiders, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2019.

[8] Gerver Torres, The Venezuelan Drama in 14 Charts, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),   2019.

[9] Robert M. Shelala II, Maritime Security in the Middle East and North Africa: A Strategic Assesment, CSIS, 2016, [Available from https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/140206_maritime_security_shelala_report.pdf. Accessed 15 July 2021].

[10] See Cuong Manh Nguyen, Tien Quoc, supra, at p.961.

[11] See e.g. UNSC Res. 2500 (Dec.2019) that notes the complex relationship between illegal and unregulated fishing and piracy in its preamble.

[12] Maritime Piracy, Chapter 9,  UNODC  Report  2009,  pp.193-200  [https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/tocta/9.Maritime_piracy.pdf]

[13]Katinka Svanberg, The use of private maritime guards as an innovative means to fulfil states duty to cooperate in the repression of maritime piracy. Part 1, IJMCS, 2020:2(1):30, 46, [Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349574500_The_use_of_private_maritime_guards_as_an_innovative_means_to_fulfil_states_duty_to_cooperate_in_the_repression_of_maritime_piracy_Part_1. Accessed 15 July 2021].

[14] The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s annual piracy Report 2020, Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships, 13 Jan 2021 [https://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/1301-gulf-of-guinea-records-highest-ever-number-of-crew-kidnapped-in-2020-according-to-imb-s-annual-piracy-report].

[15] Ibid.,

[16] The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded  98  incidents  of  piracy  and  armed  robbery  in  the  first  half  of 2020, up from 78 in Q2 2019, see Crew kidnappings surge in seas off West Africa, ICC Commercial Crime Service, A Specialized Division of the International Chamber of Commerce,  [https://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/1293-crew-kidnappings-surge-in-seas-off-west-africa-imb-reports].

[17] , BMP5 - Best  Management  Practices  to  Deter  Piracy  and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, adopted by the shipping industry organizations;  BIMCO,  ICS,  IGP&I  Clubs,  INTERTANKO  and  OCIMF, (2018), [https://eunavfor.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/BMP5-PP.pdf].


[18] See infra on Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


[20] MSC Circ. 1405, para.5.16,.GCDG at, para. 7.15, and BMP5 at p.20, The 100 Series, para.8, MSC Circ.1405, para.5.16, GUARDCON para.11,

[21] The Suppression  of  Unlawful  Acts  Against  the  Safety  of  Maritime  Navigation,  1678  U.N.T.S.  221, 271, I.L.M.  668 (1988), entered into force March 1, 1992. In 2021 it had 166 parties.

[22] Malvina Halberstam, Terrorism on the High Seas: The Achille Lauro, Piracy and the IMO Convention on Maritime Safety, The American Journal of International Law, 1988: 82( 2): 269-310,.269. Andrew L. Liput, An Analysis  of  the  Achille  Lauro  Affair:  Towards  an  Effective  and  Legal  Method  of  Bringing International  Terrorists  to  Justice,  Fordham  International  Law  Journal, , 1985:9(2), 328.

[23] Peter Chalk, Terrorism, Piracy, and Challenges for the United States, in The Maritime Dimension of International Security,: RAND Corporation, 2008, p.19-20.

[24] https://www.unodc.org/unodc/press/releases/2020/June/media-advisory---global-launch-of-the-2020-world-drug-report.html [Accessed 15 July 2021].

[25] :Transnational Crime and the Developing World , Global Financial Integrity, Executive Summary - Global Financial Integrity [Available from https://www.gfintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Transnational_Crime-final-_exec-summary.pdf].  UNODC World Drug Report 2020: Global drug use rising; while COVID-19 has far reaching impact on global drug markets, Wienna 25 June 2020, [https://www.unodc.org/unodc/press/releases/2020/June/media-advisory---global-launch-of-the-2020-world-drug-report.html].

[26] Ibid.

[27] Martin Ratcovich, International Law and the Rescue of Refugees at Sea, Stockholm University Press, Stockholm, 2019, p.55.

[28]Hugh Griffiths, The new information superhighway: practical methods for sharing knowledge and stemming destabilizing arms flows, SIPRI, 2012.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Lydelle Joubert,, THE CONCIERGE OF VIOLENCE AND TERROR: SHIPPING COMPANIES AND WEAPONS SMUGGLING TO LIBYA, Stable seas, 23 Sep.2020 [Available from: https://www.stableseas.org/illicit-trades/shipping-companies-weapons-smuggling-libya [Accessed 15 July 2021]

[31] Ibid.,

[32] Alexis Wilpon, Floating Armories: A Legal Grey Area in Arms Trade and the Law of the Sea,  Georgetown Journal of International Law,2017:48:873-894,873.

[33] John McFarlane, Transnational crime corruption, crony capitalism and nepotism in the twenty-first century, in Peter Larmour and Nick Wolanln (eds.), CORRUPTION AND ANTI-CORRUPTION, , 2000,  p.102.

[34] Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, 2237 UNTS 319; Doc. A/55/383. The Trafficking Protocol was adopted by the United Nations in 2000 and entered into force in 2003. Currently it has 155 States Parties.

[35] United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto,Doc.A55/25 (15 November 2000), entered into force 2003.

[36] Zezen Z. Mutaqin, Modern-day Slavery at Sea: Human Trafficking in the Thai Fishing Industry, XI JEAIL,2018:1:75,76.

[37] US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2015, available from [https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/245365.pdf .[Accessed 5 March 2018], cited in Mutaqin, supra, at 76.

[38]Surtees, supra, p.99.

[39]Transnational Crime and the Developing World, Global Financial Integrity, Executive Summary - Global Financial Integrity [https://www.gfintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Transnational_Crime-final-_exec-summary.pdf].

[40] The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China), case nr 2013-


[41] Transnational Crime and the Developing World, Global Financial Integrity, supra.

[42] UN warns illegal fishing could be related to piracy in Somalia, UNSC Res.2442 (2018), 2383 (2017), 2316 (2016).