Turin, 28 January 2009. The meeting, organized in Turin by UNICRI, will see the participation, among the others, of NATO, EU, UNODC, UNOSAT, US Department of Defence, Malaysia intelligence services and Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affaires and will be chaired by the Italian Navy. Moreover, the meeting will foresee the participation of many Government representatives as well as private actors involved in the maritime business. It represents the "first step" within the global applied research programme on the fight against maritime piracy that will be carried out by our office and that will take place in the next two years.
Its overall objective is to improve knowledge management, exchange good practices and enhance international cooperation between the public sector (Governments and International Organizations) and private actors in the fight against maritime piracy. Moreover, the meeting aims at improving knowledge and exchange information about practical and technological responses to maritime piracy.
Maritime piracy is a criminal phenomenon with a long history, but is presently becoming a ï¿½hot topicï¿½ due to its increased impact on social, economic and security sectors and its widened scope. Pirate attacks constitute not only a direct threat to the lives of people on board, but can also undermine sea trading abilities and hamper the legitimacy of political regimes by encouraging illicit traffics and corruption. Moreover, attacks have the potential to trigger major environmental disasters, particularly if they take place in crowded waters.
Traditionally, the concentration of pirate attacks continues to be highest in Southeast Asia, especially in the waters around the Indonesian archipelago, which accounted for roughly 25 percent of all global incidents during 2006. Yet, the waters around the Horn of Africa are currently becoming areas of increased concern. U.S., French, Spanish and Italian ships have been targets of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden during the first half of 2008. There is strong concern in the Intelligence community regarding the possible link between pirate activities and international terrorism finance networks. For example, it has already been proven that ransom money is helping to pay the current internal war in Somalia.
Contemporary piracy is a booming criminal activity, not only because of its high profitability with an extremely positive cost-benefit balance for the perpetrators, but also due to the acute vulnerability of targets, lack of awareness and specific countermeasures jointly with the highly underreported nature of the crime.