US issues new counter piracy plan

The United States has long been a leader in maritime security.

United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan

The United States has long been a leader in maritime security. Since 2009, the United States pioneered the international effort to counter pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, with dramatic results. In the spirit of this leadership, the United States has completed a government-wide Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan.

The plan affirms the U.S. commitment to repress piracy and related maritime crimes, strengthen regional governance and rule of law for the safety and security of mariners, preserve freedom of the seas, and promote free flow of commerce through lawful economic activity. The Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan focuses on three core areas: prevention of attacks, response to acts of maritime crime, and enhancing maritime security and governance; and provides specific frameworks for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea. These frameworks establish a tailored and specific methodology for the focus regions, and provide guidance on how the United States will respond to the regional threats associated with the varying environments.

Under the plan, the U.S. Government will work toward the following objectives:

  • Reduce the vulnerability of the maritime domain to piracy and related maritime crimes;
  • Prevent pirate attacks and other related maritime crimes against U.S. vessels, persons, and interests, as well as those of our allies and partners;
  • Interrupt and terminate acts of piracy, consistent with international law and the rights and responsibilities of other States;
  • Ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their actions by facilitating the prosecution of suspected pirates, and ensure that persons committing related maritime crimes are similarly held accountable by regional, flag, victim, or littoral States or, in appropriate cases, the United States;
  • Preserve the freedom of the seas, including all the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea recognized in international law;
  • Protect ocean commerce and transportation;
  • Continue to lead and support international efforts to combat piracy and other related maritime crimes and urge other States to take decisive action both individually and through international efforts;
  • Build the capacity and political will of regional states to combat piracy and other related maritime crimes, focusing on creating institutional capacity for governance and the rule of law; and
  • Strengthen national law to better enable successful prosecution of all members of piracy-related criminal enterprises, including those involved in financing, negotiating, or otherwise facilitating acts of piracy or other related maritime crimes.

Full text of the United States Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan, is available on the White House Web site here. For more information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at


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