Dryad Maritime Suggests Potential Increase in Piracy

by | Thursday, May 1, 2014 |

On April 7, Dryad Maritime published a White Paper outlining how a shift in the United States’ foreign policy might lead to an uptick in piracy in the Indian Ocean and East of Suez in the next year and a half.

According to Commercial Director of Dryad Maritime, David Hunkin OBE:

With the US strategic focus now firmly fixed on the Asia Pacific region and Iran ‘coming in from the cold’, it is only a matter of time before western navies begin withdrawing the warships that have been so successful in suppressing piracy off the Somali coast. With no convoys and no rescue forces, the commercial shipping industry could be left to fend for itself.

Somalia will still be a largely lawless and ungoverned space and although the problem of piracy has been contained, it hasn’t been solved: removal of that containment means a return of piracy – and it could be argued that the problem will be worse than before.

NATO and EU maritime forces have been highly successful in suppressing Somali piracy in recent years and some of the most capable maritime platforms in the world have been deployed east of Suez primarily to deter and defend against potential Iranian aggression and a return to regional hegemony. But with the threat landscape changing, pressure is mounting to bring those forces home and over the next 18-months, the naval presence east of Suez will be very different to what we see today.

He also went on to express a fear that as the warships are withdrawn, vessels and crews will be left incredibly vulnerable in a hijack situation.

Their report suggests that the private maritime security industry, shipping industry, governments, and international organizations have approximately a year and a half to come up with a solution to this looming problem. It expresses that dialogue must begin immediately to reach a decision on how the space left by redeploying military forces will be filled – will the solution be commercial or some combination of commercial and defense?The paper conveys that it is essential we protect shipping in the future.

Said Hunkin, “The clock is ticking but for once there is time to establish an effective a solution provided the reality and enormity of this situation is acknowledged and measures put in place to ensure the safety of those plying their lawful trade upon the Indian Ocean.”

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