Journal Notes


In 2014, the Regent Journal of International Law combined with Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy to form the Regent Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy

Google Scholar Citations

Thieves, Robbers, & Terrorists: Piracy in the 21st Century

Abstract of Thieves, Robbers, & Terrorists: Piracy in the 21st Century, Regent Journal of International Law (Spring 2006)

Despite the common perception that pirates have been relegated to history and Hollywood, maritime piracy remains a significant threat to international commerce and security. The International Maritime Bureau reported 325 pirate attacks on shipping worldwide in 2004. Losses have been estimated as high as $25 billion. In addition, the relationship between piracy and terrorism presents a threat to coastal nations. Hijacked ships could be used for devastating suicide attacks. Oil tankers could be particularly damaging weapons, whether in suicide attacks or through oil spills. As a criminal enterprise, piracy may also subsidize terrorism. Al Qaeda has been reported to control twenty ships under flags of convenience. Action must be taken to fight piracy and reduce the terrorist threat.

This article addresses the legal problems encountered in defining the crime of piracy and jurisdiction over piracy. It explores the recent history of piracy from the Achille Lauro to the current War on Terrorism. Looking forward, it presents and analyzes possible solutions and tools that can be used to combat piracy, including the efforts of international organizations and practical measures. The article concludes that a more objective definition of piracy is necessary, as well as increased acceptance of the duty to extradite or prosecute pirates.