WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 51–70 | Cite as

Is Somali piracy a random phenomenon?

  • George KiourktsoglouEmail author
  • Alec D. Coutroubis


This paper investigates whether Somali piracy is a random phenomenon. The investigation takes place in two distinct parts. Its statistical analysis spans over a period of 11 years, from 2000 until 2011 for the first part (flags), and 5 years, from 2007 until 2011 for the second one (crews). The reason is that although prior to 2007 there have been a substantial number of attacks (parameter used in the first part of the research), very few ships were practically pirated (parameter used in the second part) within the same period. Firstly, it is widely believed that Somali pirates select their targets at random and the decision on attacking a vessel registered under a particular flag is unrelated to the participation of the flag state in any of the naval forces operating around the Horn of Africa. The enquiry attempts to assess whether these two common beliefs are supported by historical data and to what extent. Secondly, this paper asks whether there are certain nationalities of crews which are for ethnic and/or cultural reasons more (or less) vulnerable to fall victims of pirates off Somalia. Such groups (if there are any) would in effect indirectly ‘support’ Somali piracy, and for this reason, they could be considered as ‘passively supportive crews’. The analysis focuses on the crew composition of the attacked vessels with special interest cast upon those ships (meaning the crews) which eventually succumbed to Somali pirates and were in the end seajacked.


Randomness Somali piracy Ship’s flag Crew 


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GreenwichChathamUK

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