Maritime Piracy Database 2001-2010

Attempt to tally global piracy incidents and reports. 

Facts, Figures, Trends: the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database 2001-2010

By Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal

The lack of reliable piracy data has been identified as one of the main obstacles to contemporary maritime piracy research (Worrall, 2000; Ong-Webb, 2007). Research to date has focused on selected types of piracy or on particular geographical regions where piracy occurs, usually relying on single sources of data or being wholly anecdotal. Despite major shifts in the nature of contemporary piracy, little research has been produced that examines global trends in piracy. In response to this gap, I have created the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database (CMPD). The CMPD combines the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reports and the United States National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA) anti-shipping activity messages in an effort to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the nature and trends of contemporary piracy. I have already introduced the CMPD in two articles in the British Journal of Criminology (Twyman-Ghoshal & Pierce 2014) and in the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (Twyman-Ghoshal 2014).

The IMB remains the primary source of information on piracy attacks globally, providing a total of 74.5 percent of information for the CMPD. The NGIA adds a good amount to this dataset (over 25 percent), creating a more comprehensive dataset than has been available to date. The process of integrating these two data sources was made easier by the fact that their reports provide comparable information. Together, the new dataset (CMPD) includes all non-duplicated reported incidents of piracy between 2001 and 2010. Within this dataset, each report was coded across nine major dimensions, which include: 1) geographic location (i.e., attack location and source of attack); 2) date of attack; 3) location at sea (e.g., high seas, coastal waters, in harbor); 4) time of attack; 5) target vessel characteristics; 6) pirate characteristics; 7) pirate actions; 8) pirate motivation; and 9) responses to piracy.

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