Piracy Policy Collective
New U.S. plan takes global approach to thwarting, prosecuting pirates
By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent
While only 1 percent of U.S.
commerce travels through the Gulf
of Aden, the perilous waters
around Somalia that feed into the
Red Sea are a critical trade route
between the Middle East and
Europe. The repercussions of serious problems along this route —
forcing, for example, vessels to use
considerably longer routes around
the Cape of Good Hope — affects
maritime commerce worldwide,
resulting in, among other things,
higher insurance and transit costs.
To that end, the proactive role of
the United States and other nations is critical.
“Globalization, and its attendant economic interdependency made possible largely by maritime shipping, make imperative the coordinated efforts and
actions of states, international organizations and
industry to repress piracy off the Horn of Africa,”
In recent months, naval forces from around the
world, including the United States, China, Russia and
India, have stepped up security in the 2. 5 million
square miles of ocean off the coast of Somalia. The
European Union also established Operation Atalanta,
which brings together many of Europe’s naval assets to
patrol and defend against pirates in Somali waters.
CPAP was spearheaded by the State Department and
National Security Council, in cooperation with an
interagency team made up of, among others, U.S.
Navy, Coast Guard and Maritime Administration
The plan presents three distinct lines of action:
■ Prevent pirate attacks by reducing the vulnerability
of the maritime domain to piracy.
■ Interrupt and terminate acts of piracy consistent
with international law and the rights and responsibilities of coastal and flag states.
Participants in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of
Somalia have established four working groups on the following
■ Activities related to military coordination.
■ Judicial aspects of piracy.
■ Strengthening shipping self-awareness and other capabilities.
■ Improving diplomatic and public information efforts on all aspects
In response to the growing threat of piracy off the
shores of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, the U.S.
National Security Council in mid-January released
the “Countering Piracy off the Horn of Africa: Partnership and Action Plan,” or CPAP.
CPAP implements the then-Bush administration’s
June 2007 Policy for the Repression of Piracy and
Other Criminal Acts of Violence at Sea, which was
appended to the 2005 National Strategy for Maritime
Security. While the 2007 policy addressed piracy in a
broad, global sense, CPAP specifically deals with the
hijack-for-ransom “business model” employed by
CPAP calls for a global, coalition-based approach for
achieving a safer maritime domain in Somali waters,
while also outlining, specifically, the U.S. position and
objectives in the region.
Guided by the notion of effective global partnerships, CPAP states that “success in securing the maritime domain will not come from the United States acting alone, but through a powerful coalition of nations
maintaining a strong united front. The need for coordinated multilateral cooperation stems from the fact
that most of the world’s maritime domain is under no
single nation’s sovereignty or jurisdiction.”