The Horn of Africa: NATO and the EU as Partners Against Pirates

  • Stefano Ruzza


Maritime crime off the Somali coast seriously threatened both global maritime trade and regional stability in the Red Sea basin. NATO, the EU, and other regional powers worked in close synergy, complementing the best management practices developed by the international shipping industry with policing operations at sea, such as NATO mission Ocean Shield and the EU CSDP operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta and capacity-building missions on land such as EUCAP Nestor/Somalia. The international response to Somali-based piracy succeeded in boosting the resilience of maritime trade thanks to an effective cooperation between all relevant stakeholders, offering some valuable lessons on future resilience-building initiatives.


  1. Allied Maritime Command. (2016). Operation Ocean Shield: Participating Forces. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  2. Bridger, J. M. (2013, September). Safe Seas at What Price? The Costs, Benefits and Future of NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield (NATO Research Paper [95]). Accessed 20 March 2019.
  3. Bueger, C. (2013). Practice, Pirates and Coast Guards: The Grand Narrative of Somali Piracy. Third World Quarterly, 34(10), 1811–1827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cardiff University, European Union Institute of Security Studies, and Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2018). Lessons from Piracy. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  5. Chalk, P. (2010). Piracy Off the Horn of Africa: Scope, Dimensions, Causes and Responses. Brown Journal of International Affairs, 16(2), 89–108.Google Scholar
  6. Chalk, P. (2016). The Privatization of Counter-Piracy: Implications for Order at Sea. In S. Ruzza, A. P. Jakobi, & C. Geisler (Eds.), Non-state Challenges in a Re-ordered World (pp. 122–138). Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Chambers, M., & Liu, M. (2012). Maritime Trade and Transportation by the Numbers. US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  8. Clark, A. (2009, June 4). Counter Piracy Operations, Challenges, Shortfalls and Lessons Learned. Combined Maritime Forces.Google Scholar
  9. Combined Maritime Forces. (2016). Accessed 20 March 2019.
  10. Cusumano, E., & Ruzza, S. (2015). Contractors as a Second Best Option: The Italian Hybrid Approach to Maritime Security. Ocean Development & International Law, 46(2), 111–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cusumano, E., & Ruzza, S. (2018a). Security Privatisation at Sea: Piracy and the Commercialisation of Vessel Protection. International Relations, 32(1), 80–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cusumano, E., & Ruzza, S. (2018b). United States Anti-piracy Policies: Between Military Missions and Private Sector Responsabilization. In M. Clementi, M. Dian, & B. Pisciotta (Eds.), US Foreign Policy in a Challenging World: Building Order on Shifting Foundations (pp. 63–81). Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Erickson, A., & Strange, A. (2013, November 1). China and the International Antipiracy Effort. The Diplomat. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  14. EUCAP Somalia. (2018). Accessed 20 March 2019.
  15. EU NAVCO. (2008, October 15). European Union Initiatives in Support of Implementation of UNSCR 1816. Brussels.Google Scholar
  16. EUNAVFOR. (2018). Accessed 20 March 2019.
  17. EUNAVFOR MED. (2015, November 26). First Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) Meeting for the Mediterranean Sea. Press Release 04/15. Rome.Google Scholar
  18. EUNAVFOR MED. (2018). Accessed 20 March 2019.
  19. EUTM Somalia. (2018). Accessed 28 September 2018.
  20. Garrun, D. (2011, November 23). How to Catch a Pirate—Cooperation Is Key. Naval Technology. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  21. Gebhard, C., & Smith, S. J. (2015). The Two Faces of EU-NATO Cooperation: Counter-Piracy Operations Off the Somali Coast. Cooperation and Conflict, 50(1), 107–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goodwin, A. P. (2016, December 1). The Economic Value of Shipping and Maritime Activity in Europe. Oxford Economics. Accessed 20 March 2019.Google Scholar
  23. Gortney, W. E. (2009). Statement of Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, US Navy Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command, Before the House Armed Services Committee on Counter-Piracy Operations in the US Central Command Area of Operations. Accessed 28 September 2018.
  24. Hansen, S. J. (2009). Piracy in the Greater Gulf of Aden: Myths, Misconceptions and Remedies (NIBR Report 2009:29). Oslo: NIBR.Google Scholar
  25. Hari, J. (2009, April 13). You Are Being Lied to About Pirates. The Huffington Post. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  26. International Maritime Bureau (IMB). (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships.Google Scholar
  27. International Maritime Organization (IMO). (2010). Resolution A.1025 (26), Code of Practice for the Investigation of Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships. London.Google Scholar
  28. Kinsey, C. P., Hansen, S. J., & Franklin, G. (2009). The Impact of Private Security Companies on Somalia’s Governance Networks. Review of International Affairs, 22(1), 147–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marchal, R. (2011). Somali Piracy: The Local Context of an International Obsession. Humanity, 2(1), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NATO. (2016, December 19). Counter-Piracy Operations. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  31. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2011). The Economic Cost of Maritime Piracy 2010. One Earth Future Foundation.Google Scholar
  32. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2012). The Economic Cost of Somali Piracy 2011. One Earth Future Foundation.Google Scholar
  33. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2013). The Human Cost of Maritime Piracy 2012. One Earth Future Foundation.Google Scholar
  34. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2018a). The State of Maritime Piracy 2017. One Earth Future Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2018b). The State of Maritime Piracy 2017: Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in East Africa 2017. One Earth Future Foundation. Accessed 28 September 2018.
  36. Oceans Beyond Piracy. (2018c). Shared Awareness and Deconfliction. One Earth Future Foundation. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  37. Oxford Economics. (2015, February). The Economic Value of the EU Shipping Industry—Update. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  38. Scimia, E. (2018, January 8). Anti-piracy Mission Helps China Develop Its Blue-Water Navy. Asia Times. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  39. Sterling, J. (2009). Navy Creates Force Devoted to Fighting Piracy. CNN. Accessed 23 December 2016.
  40. Stiles, K. (2008). Banning Piracy: The State Monopoly on Military Force. In W. Sandholtz & K. Stiles (Eds.), International Norms and Cycles of Change. Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. United Nations. (1982). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Montego Bay.Google Scholar
  42. United Nations. (2008a, June 2). Security Council Condemns Acts of Piracy, Armed Robbery Off Somalia’s Coast, Authorizes for Six Months ‘All Necessary Means’ to Repress Such Acts. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  43. United Nations. (2008b, December 16). Security Council Authorizes States to Use Land-Based Operations in Somalia as a Part of Fight Against Piracy Off Coast. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  44. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development—UNCTAD. (2011). Review of Maritime Transport 2011. Geneva and New York.Google Scholar
  45. US Department of State. (2017, January 20). Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  46. US Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration. (2013). 2011 US Water Transportation Statistical Snapshot. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  47. US Navy. (2009a). New Counter-Piracy Task Force Established. Accessed 23 December 2016
  48. US Navy. (2009b). USS Boxer Becomes Flagship for CTF 151. Accessed 20 March 2019.
  49. Weitz, R. (2011). War and Governance: International Security in a Changing World Order. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.Google Scholar
  50. World Bank. (2013). Pirate Trails: Tracking the Illicit Financial Flows from Piracy Off the Horn of Africa. A World Bank Study. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  51. World Food Programme—WFP. (2008). NATO Escort to VFP Vessels. Accessed 20 March 2019.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Ruzza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cultures, Politics and SocietyUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations