Modern Piracy

Modern Piracy

Legal Challenges and Responses

Edited by Douglas Guilfoyle

Modern Piracy is the first book to survey the law of maritime piracy from both public law and commercial law perspectives, as well as providing a contextual overview of piracy in major hotspots. Topics covered include issues of international law, law-enforcement cooperation, private armed security, ransoms, insurance and carriage of goods by sea. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the range of legal issues presented by the modern piracy menace and will be of interest to scholars and practitioners alike.

Chapter 9: Reshaping maritime security cooperation: the importance of interagency coordination at the national level

Brian Wilson

Subjects: law - academic, maritime law, public international law


Somali piracy takes place in a vast ocean operating space with overlap- ping national authorities, gaps in jurisdiction and the involvement of multiple states and organizations seeking to repress it. In this context, cooperation between states is crucial. Recent efforts to repress piracy also demonstrate that cooperation within each state is equally crucial. Mari- time security operations may involve extensive cooperation and coordination between different governmental agencies if they are to succeed. As discussed in previous chapters, the response to Somali piracy has primarily been a law enforcement effort that brings with it particular challenges for the naval states involved. While the onus of resolving maritime threats traditionally has rested with naval assets, the spectrum of responses now extends into diplomatic, investigative and judicial venues. The intersection of agencies with separate command structures, operating procedures and authorities poses considerable coordination challenges, such as resolving which agency is lead for investigation, where will evidence be stored, where will pirates be detained, which nation will prosecute and where will convicted pirates be confined. In response to these issues, collaborative constructs have emerged that facilitate information sharing and unity of effort. In the United States, a Presidentially-approved plan creates a process for interagency coordination in the response to maritime threats. The Maritime Operational Threat Response (MOTR) Plan has guided US action following piratical attacks against the Maersk Alabama, Magellan Star and Quest, among others. This chapter will explore the MOTR Plan’s origins, its implementation, specific cases and lessons learned.

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