SafeSeas researcher Dr Rupert Alcock attended this OBP report launch event at the Riverside Park Plaza, London, 23 May 2018. The annual report assesses the economic and human costs of maritime piracy in four regions: East Africa, West Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. As testament to the ever growing global interest in piracy and wider maritime security challenges, the event attracted more attendees than all prior launches of its kind to date.
Key findings of the report include an estimated economic cost of piracy in East Africa during 2017 of $1.4 billion, with 1102 seafarers affected by piracy and armed robbery and 54 incidents reported in total. This figure represents a 100% increase in total incidents between 2016 and 2017. The spike in Somali-based piracy events in the Horn of Africa in the spring of 2017 indicates that Somali criminal networks are still capable of sophisticated attacks.
The panel discussion and Q and A session illustrated the complicated nature of the maritime security picture in the Western Indian Ocean, including the spillover effects into the maritime space of the ongoing political conflict in Yemen. One Earth Future (OEF) President Larry Sampler used the occasion to announce the foundation’s intention to merge Oceans Beyond Piracy with OEFs other programmes under the umbrella of OEF’s core branding, in an attempt to develop a more holistic approach to the foundation’s peace and development work in Somalia.