The spread of coronavirus may lead to an increase in piracy

In last weeks Weekly Maritime Piracy Report we provided a summary of all reported piracy attacks, over the course of the week, in addition to comparing the number of attacks each month between 2019 and those in 2020.  All five months of the year to date have shown an increase in attacks.

2019 – 2020 Overall Monthly Comparison

coronavirus piracy

This data supports findings in a recent article published in the World Economic Forum indicating 2020 has seen a 24% increase in piracy and attempted piracy attacks on the previous year.  This is especially concerning given that the international community was recently celebrating the end of maritime piracy.

Prins indicates: “Most piracy ultimately affects poor countries with weak governments. That’s because criminals, insurgents, and other groups see opportunities to raise money for their land-based battles by stealing from passing ships.”

The event of the coronavirus adds a further dimension to this dynamic by placing additional economic pressures on citizens who may be driven to look for opportunities offshore.  Meanwhile, governments that were already overstretched, may have to shift their focus away from the sea to more pressing health and security matters onshore.

“Global piracy still isn’t as high as it was during the Somali peak from 2009 to 2012. But if economic conditions worsen around the globe and ships look like easy targets, more desperate people may turn to piracy, or ramp up their existing efforts in an attempt to survive.”

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