Coordinating Editors: Stephen Brannon, Taufiq Rahim
Contributing Editors: Cyrus Hodes, Theodore Karasik, Ekram Al Yacoub
Once thought to be the scourge of a bygone age, maritime piracy has re-emerged in recent years as a serious threat to both crews and property on the high seas. Globally, attacks have risen from 239 in 2006 to 445 in 2010, with 1181 seafarers taken hostage last year alone. The total annual economic cost is estimated at $7-12 billion. Despite growing awareness of the threat, and a variety of national, regional and international initiatives, the tide of piracy continues to rise. It is in this context that the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DP World convened the conference entitled “Global Challenge, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy,” held in Dubai on April 18-19, 2011. The gathering brought leaders from government, the shipping industry and non-governmental organizations together with renowned experts in the field of counter-piracy to discuss ways in which the international response to the global challenge of maritime piracy might be supported and enhanced, and to identify specific, tangible opportunities for collaborative action.
In order to stimulate innovative thinking on the subject, the conference organizers engaged the Dubai School of Government to commission a series of short briefing papers reflecting the cutting edge of academic and expert thought on piracy and related issues. These papers correspond to the four conference content categories: General Background and Regional Overviews; Addressing Root Causes; Opportunities for Information Sharing and Civil-Military Cooperation; and, Relevant Issues in International Law. The selected papers cover a wide range of topics and broach a number of key themes, ranging from the hidden economy of piracy to the plight of captive seafarers. Collectively, however, the papers share a common perspective: In spite of substantial investments in a number of areas, the current international response falls short of what is required to end this phenomenon. Furthermore, an effective and enduring solution to the global challenge of maritime piracy must entail a long-term, comprehensive effort, both onshore and offshore, which involves all relevant public and private sector stakeholders.