Pirates: and What You Can Do About Them

26 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2019

See all articles by Joseph Godfrey

Joseph Godfrey

Independent; University of Cambridge

Date Written: September 17, 2019


Piracy may seem antiquated, but it is still a very real threat to the maritime industry with an annual cost of several billion dollars. This problem stems from 'pirate' being too good a job (in a very literal sense) to pass up. Piracy pays a lot, and pirates face virtually no repercussions for doing it, even in the event of capture. For reasons including piracy laws that are simply not robust enough for contemporary pirates, procedural inadequacies, and the practise of bribing judges and prison guards, pirates remain undeterred in their endeavours.

This article aims to provide a thorough overview of what constitutes maritime piracy under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its differing domestic interpretations, and the reasons why people become pirates. The article also poses some solutions as to what can be done to mitigate the effects of piracy, including insurance and private security, and asks if pirates could be sued under the Alien Tort Statute. Solutions to 'solve' piracy, such as an international pirate court, are also touched upon.

Keywords: Pirates, Piracy, Maritime Piracy, Somalia, Maritime, UNCLOS, Law of the Sea, Somalia, Transnational Crime

JEL Classification: K14, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Godfrey, Joseph and Godfrey, Joseph, Pirates: and What You Can Do About Them (September 17, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3452299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3452299

Joseph Godfrey (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

United Kingdom


No Address Available
United Kingdom

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