Piracy remains greatest in Southeast Asia, especially around the Indonesian archipelago, the report said. The region accounted for nearly a quarter of all piracy incidents recorded during 2006. Other high-risk areas include the waters off Bangladesh, Somalia, the Gulf of Aden/Red Sea, Nigeria, Tanzania and Peru, which collectively accounted for the bulk of remaining incidents that year.
Chalk said that a number of factors have contributed to the recent growth of piracy, including: lax port security and ineffective coastal surveillance; massive growth in commercial maritime traffic; heavy use of narrow and congested chokepoints, such as the Strait of Malacca; and competing resource requirements stemming from heightened national and international pressure to enact expensive, land-based homeland security systems following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In addition, the lingering effects of the Asian financial crisis that spurred falling wages, higher food prices and job losses in the late 1990s, directly contributed to the growth of piracy in and around Indonesia by creating an incentive for many to engage in maritime (and other types) of crime.
Maritime terrorism -- attacks against vessels, sea platforms, ports or other coastal facilities -- has also experienced a modest increase, particularly over the past six years when several attacks and plots have been attributed to al-Qaeda and affiliated jihadist networks. These incidents have raised concerns in the West, especially in the United States, that terrorists are now actively seeking to extend their operational reach beyond land-based attacks, Chalk said.
While the Bush administration has been at the forefront of efforts to u
|Contact: Jessica Goldings|