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Research Proposal on Fighting against Piracy: Problem Setting and Literature Review

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1.0 Introduction or Problem Setting

1.1 Background

Piracy can be traced back since ancient time about 800 BC where attack took place near the Adriatic Sea and the Aegean Sea. Since 20 century piracy became a global problem which occurring in every sea that affecting the security of the entire maritime transportation in the world in various aspects. Maritime crime conducted in gulf of Guinea is rising security threat along the area and making the region current piracy hotspot in the world which need the world attention.

The piracy of Hone of Africa has back history from 1960s where Somalia got her independence from Britain and later passed different period of leadership where on 1969 a coup led by Mohamed Siad Barre who established a dictatorial government. When his regime collapsed in 1991 after being overthrown by the opposing clan then country changed to unstable and the situation quickly devolved into lawlessness and clan warfare which resulted to uncontrollable famines, poverty hence high of Unemployment.

Foreigners ship dumped chemicals and waste product from their industries in the Somali water, for the reasoning of environmental factor those ships were captured by Somali Boys who brought it to the coast who met with head of clan to pay for ransom, they do the same to ship fishing to Somali water. Later became aware that fuel tanker could pays much that fishing ship and hence started to attacking fuel tanker and cargo ship so as to get the means of surviving their lives . The emerging of pirates raise maritime transportation’s cost, cargo lost or delay, political instability due to corruption, problem to safety of vessel and security to passengers and crews while 90% of the world transport are depending from sea traffic, hence shows the necessity to combat piracy.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) under the article 101, only one ship or the occupant of a ship commit an act piracy against another ship or the occupants of the other ships are called the pirates. It is clear in this article that if the crew of the ship or the passenger of the ship takes some kind of action against to control and change the way of their own ship would not be called as pirates it would be an act o “Hijacking”.

UNCLOS provides powers for the universal jurisdiction against the pirates given to all the states to take action against the piracy everywhere in the high seas. It does not matter whether the pirates take action against the ships of a particular state or not and State are allowed to trial those arrested pirates under its local laws and to punish them.

To combat piracy various measures has been conducted to include the use of Army Naval from different Nations to conduct patrol in various area in sea in order to protect the Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) . The use of Armed guard has proved positively to combat piracy since they area in ocean are so large to the extent that the Naval military cannot be able to patrol it all . Through Review conducted; I’m going to find to what extent the piracy affect the maritime transportation and to find out whether the training on pirates and Means of eradicating the poverty to the affected can reduce piracy.

1.2: Statement of Problem

According to data collected by the researchers for 11 years from 2008 up to 2018 the Number of piracy attack in Somali water fluctuate, starting from 19 in 2008, 80 in 2009, 139 in 2010 and maximized in 2011 which was 160 attack. Due to cooperation between different countries the number of attacks drops up to 49 in 2012 and 7, 3 in next two years, whereby in 2015 there was no attack in Somali water. But the problem started again the number of attack was 1, 5, 2 in three consecutive coming years.

Piracy they do not live in water there is an occasional port where the population imposes an unofficial tax on visiting vessels. Chronic Unemployment and poverty in developing countries are the main causes of pirates. The World wide Somalia Students and Professionals (WSSP) planning to recruit an estimated 1,000 Somali volunteers, including professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and scientists to travel to Somalia in order to offer skill-training regarding the effect, general awareness and combating pirates (Jackson H.M, 2012).

This idea of conducting land training was the best option, but no strategy/policy to select the trainees and touch each village, and fine enough there no author suggested training on combating poverty as the means of eradicating the pirates. Local government Authorities/clan chiefs of affected costal countries like Somalia should be evolved to ensure the targeted people are the poor from the villages and the program should be continuous to cover the large number population. Hence this study is going to find out whether the training on pirates and Means of eradicating the poverty to the affected people can be the means of combating pirates to enable facilitating smoothly maritime transportation.

1.3: Significance of the Study

  • Important the Study

From the Literature review number of pirate occurred in different area

Who will benefit from the research?

How will they benefit?

Importance of the study when complete

For example:

  • Once the study is accomplished, it will be of much value to a number of people:
  1. It will help the management and decision makers of the organization to know…….
  2. It will help researchers to identify areas for further research
  3. The study will enable the researcher to fulfill the requirements for the degree of the masters of…

1.3: General Objectives

To access the impact of Piracy in Maritime Transportation in East Africa, a case study of Tanzania.

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1.4: Specific Objectives

  1. To access the sources of piracy in East Africa Coast
  2. To access the to what extent sea transportation are affected by piracy
  3. To access the way forward to eradicate the impact of piracy in maritime transportation.

1.5: Research General Question

What are the impact of Piracy in Maritime Transportation in East Africa and particularly in Tanzania?

1.6: Research Specific Questions

  1. What are the sources of piracy in East Africa Coast?
  2. To what extent sea transportation are affected by piracy?
  3. What are ways forward to eradicate the impact of piracy in maritime transportation?

1.7: Scope, significance, rationale, and/or justification of the study

The following are the significance of the research:

  • Source of Piracy in Indian Ocean
  • Type of Cargo transported/shipping companies in Tanzania
  • How shipping industry affected by piracy in Tanzania
  • International policy/law on Piracy
  • Policies of Tanzania Government on Combating Piracy

2.0 Literature Review

2.1: Theoretical Part

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) defines piracy as an act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the apparent intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the apparent intent or capability to use force towards the act. IMB considered that, the intent, specification, extent and the use of force are principal to be an elements in what constitute piracy and not normally necessarily where or location of occurrence.

According to United Nations Conventions on Laws of the sea “Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

  • a. Any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act with negative effects, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
  1. “On the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
  2. Against a ship, aircraft, persons, or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State.
  • b. Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft.
  • c Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in sub paragraph (a) or (b).”

The Source of piracy in East Africa Coast

Lack of government in Somalia after overthrown of Mohamed Siad Barre regime in 1991 by the opposing clan then country changed to unstable and the situation quickly devolved into lawlessness and clan warfare which resulted to uncontrollable famines, poverty hence high of Unemployment . Ship from developed countries dumped chemicals and waste product and fishing in the Somali water, whereby were captured by Somali Boys who brought it to the coast to pay for ransom to the clan chief, they did the same to ship fishing to Somali water, later started to capture fuel tanker and cargo ship for more payment. Illegal fishing causes instability in Somalia as were poor coastal nations who depend on fishery.

Social acceptance of piracy in costal population is among of the sources of pirates. Pirates are not living in the sea, but their basic need is from the land and there is an occasional port where the population imposes unofficial tax on any visiting ship/vessels. Million of ransoms paid for the demand of the release of captured ship/vessel; this motivates much and accelerates piracy activities. In the Somalia whereby is the source of pirates in East Africa Coast and horn of Africa; there is public acceptance of these activities because the country suffer from economically depressed, these crimes being additional funds into the economy. The majority of the money will go to the bank but many pirates living nearby will spend with local population .

Chronic unemployment in Somalia after undergone long period of clan conflict areas which resulted to hunger, diseases, death and chronic un employment, so some people may only have occasional informal work and there is little or no opportunity in the future, which result to poverty. Hence Somali boys looked forward to find means of combating unemployment in order to reduce the poverty level, the life of a pirate is difficult and often ends in death. Hence poverty caused by chronic unemployment is a significant motivator for pirates

Legal strategies should change often as pirates charges their techniques of hijacking ships, the legal system will eventually develop to the point where international law is able to impose strong sentences on pirates but right now there are many loopholes. The policies have the potential to undo the careful balances between the rights of coastal states and maritime states that have been established under the UNCLOS. The Terrorist and pirates at sea they can find protection under a false flag state where by false flags create safe ground for criminal activity.

The Extent Sea Transportation are Affected by Pirates

  • According to IBM annual report 2013, 2014 and 2918 which shows the number of attack in different areas in the world.
  • Piracy 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total
  • In world 209 410 445 439 297 264 245 246 191 180 201 3127
  • Tanzania 14 5 1 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 27

Kenya 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 2 1 0 10

The way Forward to Eradicate the Piracy

According Menkhaus K. (2009) who suggested different ways forward on stopping the piracy activities; backing up and reinforces the Somalia government will eliminate piracy as a matter of on-shore law enforcement. Everyone agrees that this is the only viable long-term solution to be adopted. Most also concur, however, that it will be a slow, gradual process in a country that has had no functioning central government for many years. This option is seen to be cheap and easier methods of stopping the pirates and will not be as difficult as it sounds as compared to other means. But question to be asked why AU and UN failed to build a strong Government in Somali Land?

To prevent or deter piracy with naval force patrols; this should be policy for every coast State, patrolling the waters. Cargo ships passing through the Gulf of Aden can even avail themselves of naval convoys for some protection. Though patrolling has a minimal effect on reducing pirate in the sea because water environment in the sea are too vast and many cargo sheep. It’s able just a minimal effect different from what has been planned to achieve. There are also continuing complications revolving around the legal privilege of suspects once captured. It is clear that everyone agrees that naval interdiction alone cannot stop Somali piracy, and may not even be able to reduce incidents of piracy.

Arm the cargo ships; the use of private guard on board could better improve the situation, but this would face major resistance from shipping companies, who don’t want to deal with the added security risks, costs, and legal liability that all follow from having armed security on board of the cargo ships. Adding people on board it mean you add cost security risk, paying salary hence insurance costs would escalate considerably if armed guards were placed on ships, which in turn create large cost which might not be affordable

Take the war against pirates on shore; pirate is not living in sea, there some time come to the land for social needs and to employ security measures become easier since the vastness of the area has been reduced much to the ability to be affordable area. Took over the control all the coastal villages in northeastern Somalia, where they generate more pirates and accept visiting of illegal ship

Attack the commanding structure of piracy by going after the financiers, not the pirates. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced U.S. intent to track the flow of the pirate ransoms and freeze the accounts of Somali financiers. The pirates are, as Clinton suggested, funded by powerful financial backers who earn a huge share of the ransoms, and it would be ideal to squeeze them until they cease their involvement to piracy activities. Many Somalis also indirectly or directly see a cut of the ransom money flow through their hands in the residual coastal economy.

Stop paying ransom to the pirates. By preventing pirates from the financial gains accruing from their crime, the criminal behavior will stop. The trouble with this option is that the shipping industry and ships owners want their crew, ships, and cargo returned safely. Shipping companies compelled not to pay ransom would face huge losses and possible complaint. By adopting this measure of combating piracy, much problem could be at first time where pirates still thought of having huge amount of ransoms, but later after having received nothing they will change to other business. That combination of ransom refusal should be conducted parallel with military rescue in order to have an effect. The questions arise who will be willing to expose himself, his/her ship, his/her crews so that others they can benefit forever? It needs courage and strong decision for the purpose of the Nation and the world in general.

Menkhaus K. (2009) ended by suggesting that live with piracy as an unavoidable nuisance. Approaching piracy as a chronic problem to be managed rather than a war to be won is a deeply unsatisfying position, and is easy to attack politically. Most shipping companies prefer to live with the current piracy to reduce the risk of ship being pirated and the ransom fees are manageable.

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Research Proposal on Fighting against Piracy: Problem Setting and Literature Review. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
“Research Proposal on Fighting against Piracy: Problem Setting and Literature Review.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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