Chapter 12Agent-based Models of Piracy

Elio Marchione, Shane D. Johnson and Alan G. Wilson

12.1 Introduction

Maritime piracy has increased dramatically in recent years, and it is estimated that this type of crime costs the global economy over USD $7 billion per year (Ploch, 2010). Not surprisingly, this has attracted attention from the military and from international institutions such as the United Nations. It is claimed that the primary motivation for pirate attacks is financial gain obtained either through hijacking and theft of cargo or through ransoms collected following the kidnapping of the vessel and crew (Hastings, 2009).

A number of approaches to fight maritime piracy have been implemented (e.g. Rengelink, 2012). For example, a UN Security Council resolution (October 2008) provides the legal basis for the pursuit of pirates into Somali territorial waters. The UN sanction in 2008 and a US presidential order in 2010 both banned the payment of ransoms to a list of individuals known to be involved in piracy. In August 2008, the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) was set up in the Gulf of Aden by the Western Navies Combined Task Force, and in February 2009 a transit lane off the Gulf of Aden through which ships are advised to sail was established (the International Recommended Transit Corridor). Despite efforts to reduce piracy, a recent empirical analysis of daily counts of piracy in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden provided no evidence as to the effectiveness of such policies ...

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