GLOCAL March 2014 - Page 17

From Somali Coast to Southeast Asian Waters: Shifting Hotspots of Piracy A serious and bloody business Piracy was and still is a burning issue for maritime communication. The issue of maintaining safety and security of shipping and sea lines of communication (SLOC) are major concerns of ensuring maritime security by states. The advent of globalisation has made it even more indispensible for states to rely on sea-borne trade for international business. It is estimated that 80 percent of all world trade, or about 5.7 billion tons of cargo, is transported by sea. Until recently Indian Ocean has become the theater of maritime power playground. Ensuring the steady flow of energy from the Persian Gulf region to most of the countries of South, Southeast and East Asian nations depend on the security of the sea lanes of Indian Ocean. Nations with strong navies prowl these waters with advanced ships to safeguard their maritime interest, whereas non-state actors have shown tremendous interest to exploit the opportunity of intercepting the commercial ships for ransom. As against the popular portrayal of Pirates of Caribbean movie of pirates being lawless but harmless by heart, piracy is still, as The Economist put it in 1999, “a serious and bloody business.” Page Civilization around the world flourished through the sea. Voyages made by brave adventurous sailors made the world known to its people. It is the communication through seas that enabled the movement of goods, culture, raw materials, and above all knowledge that shaped the future of mankind. But as Thomas Hobbs enunciated „humans are self-interested being‟, seeking self-interest in the oceanic domain had been a part of history over 2000 years ago. Piracy has been a feature of human civilization that dates back to ancient Greece. Piracy usually means the act of robbing the ships, goods, and often capturing the ship itself for the purpose of satisfying even broader purposes. As actor pirates are those who are involved in the acts of piracy of others ship and robbing those ships for their interest. 15 Ishtiaque Alam*