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This collection of essays provides a comprehensive assessment of the legal and policy approaches to maritime anti-piracy adopted by the EU and other international actors over the last few years.
Piracy at sea is a phenomenon which has steadily grown in significance, recently attracting the attention of international policy-makers. The financial cost of piracy was estimated to have reached $7 billion by 2011, not including the cost of protecting vessels, prosecuting and imprisoning pirates and capacity-building in national and regional capacity anti-piracy efforts. Moreover piracy is intrinsically linked to State failure and other pathologies bred by it, such as organised crime and terrorism.
In response the EU and the UN Security Council have adopted policies aimed at tackling piracy, the EU has carried out maritime missions off the coast of Somalia, NATO has been deploying missions in the area since 2008, the US has been leading Combined Maritime Forces, China has been carrying out an overseas mission in the Gulf of Aden since 2009, and a number of individual States, including India, Russia, and Japan, maintain vessels patrolling the area.
However, piracy is by no means confined to the Horn of Africa, and the emphasis on the latter should not underestimate its repercussions in other areas, such as the Gulf of Guinea or South East Asia. This book adopts a holistic approach to the topic, examining approaches to piracy as these emerge in different geographical areas as well as tackling the central issues which counter piracy raises in terms of the most topical aspects of international law (international humanitarian law and armed conflict, piracy and terrorism, use of force).
It also focuses on the approach of the EU, placing counter-piracy in its broader legal context. Providing a detailed doctrinal exploration of the issues which counter-piracy raises it also emphasises and draws upon the insights of the practice of counter-piracy by bringing together academic lawyers and the legal advisors of the main actors in the area (EU, USA, NATO, UK).
The book raises fundamental questions about the law and practice of international law: are the rules of the international law of the sea on piracy still relevant? To what extent has the shared interest of international actors in tackling piracy given rise to common practices? Do the interactions between the actors examined in the book suggest fragmentation or unity of the international legal order? Is it premature to view these interactions as signalling the gradual emergence of global law in the area?
This common analytical frame of reference is underlined by the concluding chapter which draws these threads together.The book will be of interest to legal scholars, political scientists and international relations theorists, as well as decision-makers and students of law, politics and international relations.