WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 31–48 | Cite as

Deterring the dauntless—appraising the effects of naval deterrence against the Somali piracy

  • Karl SörensonEmail author


This article considers whether the Somali pirates were deterred by the naval task forces between the years 2009 and 2013. By disaggregating data and using previously unpublished records regarding the naval operations, two areas of operations are identified as potential periods of deterrence. The article uses a model of asymmetric deterrence to study the outcomes and equilibria of the navy-pirate interaction. It is found that the naval operations eventually did deter the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, but that this objective was not met in the Somali Basin. It is concluded that the operational focus on the Gulf of Aden coupled with the fact that the area is relatively smaller than the Somali Basin enabled the naval credibility, thus effectively denying the pirates access to the sea. Conversely, limited attention by the naval units and the long Somali southern coast with its open waters impeded naval control in the Somali Basin. In connection to these findings some conclusions regarding naval deterrence are discussed.


Deterrence Piracy Somalia Naval operation 


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Swedish National Defence University (FHS)StockholmSweden

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