With the world already burdened with the augmentation in extremist phenomena and global terrorism, the increment in the evils of maritime piracy add to the grieves of national and international security and economy. The illegality of piracy has been dependent on the definitional realm bringing it under international conventions and laws. The seriousness of this phenomenon has widened its spheres of influence as it not just limits the imposition of threats to the safety of maritime vessels and the crews, but has extended its domain of influence to disturb the overall economy of the affected region in the negative.
United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) defines Piracy as any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft or against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping, defines Maritime Piracy as any illegal act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of piracy, committed for private ends and directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship, within a State’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea.
Africa, being an integral part of Non-Aligned Movement, has always been at the centre of concern over the persistent threat of cases of maritime piracy hovering over the development and progress of the continent like the dark and gloomy clouds of waywardness and underdevelopment. African continent in some way or the other is affected in adverse because of threats surrounding the economic and social arena of the continent giving a significant hike to maritime piracy in recent decades. Not just the method of plunder or threats have seen an advancement be it in the Somalian region, Nigerian waters or the Gulf of Guinea but the methods and steps to fight back strongly and adamantly by African nations, as well as other NAM member states and international organizations have too witnessed a hike.
Ransom and monetary advances being the motives of early piracy have seen a significant shift in the African waters. Expanding its domain to the power politics of superiority and gain, piracy in a way throws light at wider problems related to maritime security. Trespassing the traditional methodology of seizure for ransom, what now align to the problem of piracy is even the serious issues of trafficking and smuggling of humans, weapons and narcotics, and illegal and unregulated fishing activities. With the diversification in piracy methodology the need to devise methods of tackling issues with the required specification becomes much more urgent and necessary.
The shift of piracy centre from Somalian Coast to other parts of Africa, tells a story of an efficient fighting mechanism based on intra and international cooperation and coordination. NAM Member States have vehemently condemned the acts of piracy. They have reasonably understood the impact and have voiced out to eradicate this evil towards humanity and nations at large. The efforts have resulted in sincere drop in the number of piracy attacks in and around Africa.
The buccaneers had witnessed a nightmarish year in 2017 and per the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which monitors crime at sea, global piracy and robbery at sea dipped to their lowest points in over two decades. NAM has hailed the espousal of the UN Security Council Resolution 2184 (2014) under Chapter VI of the UN Charter which calls upon States and regional organizations that had the capacity to do so to fight continuous sea crimes by deploying naval vessels, arms and military aircraft and through annexations of boats, vessels and weapons used in the commission of those crimes. NAM has not just contributed by requesting for international cooperation, but in the upliftment of its principles, all West African countries have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that prescribes exclusive Economic Zones for the individual states to have rights for exploration, energy production by utilizing the natural resources of water and the wind as well as the use of the marine resources.