Technological Solutions to Piracy

The fight against Somali piracy has sparked a range of interesting innovations

Technological Solutions to the Piracy Problem? Lessons Learned from Counter Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Christian Bueger & Anna Leander

The fight against Somali piracy has sparked a range of interesting innovations of how the international community approaches an international problem. This includes new means of international cooperation, such as the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, by which the fight against piracy is planned and steered; the Shared Awareness and De-confliction Mechanism (SHADE), by which navies organize protection in the Gulf of Aden and coordinate the patrol programme, surveillance and the “hunt” for pirates in the wider Indian Ocean. The fight against piracy however has also sparked the development of a range of innovative technological solutions. Such innovations include new forms of information sharing and coordination through databases and communication infrastructure such as the MERCURY system; new forms of maritime surveillance based on small drones; new forms of information fusion in the frame of maritime domain awareness; the development of technologies for the self-defence of merchant vessels; and technologies geared to support sustainable livelihoods onshore and to provide economic alternatives to piracy.

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