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Government Resources: Public Safety: Piracy

Maritime Piracy Under International Law

Acts of piracy threaten maritime security by endangering, in particular, the welfare of seafarers and the security of navigation and commerce. These criminal acts may result in the loss of life, physical harm or hostage-taking of seafarers, significant disruptions to commerce and navigation, financial losses to shipowners, increased insurance premiums and security costs, increased costs to consumers and producers, and damage to the marine environment. Pirate attacks can have widespread ramifications, including preventing humanitarian assistance and increasing the costs of future shipments to the affected areas.

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the framework for the repression of piracy under international law, in particular in its articles 100 to 107 and 110. The Security Council has repeatedly reaffirmed “that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (‘The Convention’), sets out the legal framework applicable to combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities” (Security Council resolution 1897 (2009), adopted on 30 November 2009). Article 100 of UNCLOS provides that “[a]ll States shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.” The General Assembly has also repeatedly encouraged States to cooperate to address piracy and armed robbery at sea in its resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea. For example, in its resolution 64/71 of 4 December 2009, the General Assembly recognized “the crucial role of international cooperation at the global, regional, subregional and bilateral levels in combating, in accordance with international law, threats to maritime security, including piracy”. Source: Piracy Under International Law, United Nations.  See Link for more information about Piracy Under International Law.

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