A new paper by Somalia Report’s Research Division has slammed the combined piracy reporting and recording efforts of the maritime industry and military.
With so many agencies collecting and collating data, researchers are bemused at the lack of exact figures and information.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), various organs of the United Nations, NATO, the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and various media agents are all collecting data -but none of them agree, and vital data is falling between the institutional gaps.
Why, asks Somalia Report, with the vast resources at their disposal can no-one agree on an exact figure? It is a fair question.
The system (for want of a better word) is failing – and the net result is that the seafaring victims are being left as nameless, faceless numbers on seemingly inaccurate databases.
At a recent high-level inter-industry workshop one area of improvement suggested was the establishment of a single central data and reporting point. It seems in light of the failings with the current approach to data management, then such a organisation cannot come soon enough. However, the issue will as ever, be one of cost.
The IMB have probably come closest to a delivering a functional approach, but the problem with their system is the fact that they have alighted on their own definition of piracy.
With the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) definitions driving some data, the IMB others, and with organisations picking and choosing their own (occasionally politically driven) view – it appears impossible to access what would, on the face of it seem like a relatively straightforward figure.
It would seem that there need to be some hard decisions taken, and global investment made to create a truly international global reporting centre for maritime security. Which works to a set of newly defined and agreed definitions.
Revisiting UNCLOS and redefining “piracy” may eventually happen to reflect the modern world and realities, but in the meantime the best approach would be to break down “maritime crime and security” into its most basic component parts.
By setting up a reporting system based on easy to use options, may lead to progress and an upswing in reports. It may also make it easier to gain insight into the actual numbers of attacks, hijackings, people held.
Instead of piecing together rumour, press reports and statements from commercial entities, the time has come to push for a better system of monitoring maritime security – on a global scale.
The old adage that you can’t manage what you can’t count applies here – but perhaps even more so if you can’t count properly.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via shiptalk.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com