Challenging the Myths of Pirate Violence - Dirk Steffen (maritime global news)
Like most forms of maritime “piracy” (which often technically do not even qualify as piracy under the UNCLOS definition) Bangladeshi piracy is an acknowledged local phenomenon that primarily affects locals and local or regional economic interests. (...) whenever a region grabs the headlines for pirate attacks, we read bizarre news about “the world’s most violent pirates”, but only when their attacks cause casualties amongst the crews of internationally-trading vessels. *Some of this has a whiff of *fear-mongering about it and generally leaves seafarers confused and frightened about the nature of the piracy threats in the various parts of the world. This is not to say that those casualties reported are not a cause for concern, but what appears to be lacking is a discussion informed by the most basic analysis of the facts. For starters, violence levels in piracy worldwide would appear to be much higher than what is commonly circulated.
(...) This is true for Somalia, where many of the original pirates were involved in criminal activity against Somali and Yemeni fishing vessels. It is also true for the Gulf of Guinea, where the same Niger Delta youths who prey on inshore traffic and kidnap oil workers are also hired by organised criminals to hijack tankers. Finally, in South East Asia, local criminals (including active or former military personnel) form the operational nucleus for many of the maritime scams including tug-jacking and product theft.
(...) Fear-mongering and perpetuation of unfounded myths are unhelpful in alleviating anxieties amongst seafarers and in preparing them for dealing with the problem.