Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated

The issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was raised by several speakers during the UN Security Council’s debate on transnational maritime crime.

The SC was told that international maritime crime was becoming “increasingly sophisticated” as criminal groups exploited jurisdiction and enforcement challenges on the high seas. They were said to pose immediate danger to people’s lives and safety, according to Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), speaking to the Security Council on February 5th.

“Two-thirds of the world’s surface is ocean. Nearly all of that is beyond any State’s territorial waters and largely not subject to a single state criminal jurisdiction”, Fedotov said via video conference from UNODC headquarters in Vienna

Fedotov emphasized the root causes of transnational organized crime at sea and the links between terrorism, piracy and illegal trafficking.

“In recent years the freedom of navigation has been exploited by criminal groups. Maritime crime by its nature involves vessels, cargoes, crews, victims and illicit money flows from many regions”, he said.