U.S. Approaches to Counter-Piracy

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 31, 2011

The United States takes an integrated multidimensional and multilateral approach to combating piracy in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean region. This approach focuses on security through expanded naval operations; self-protection by industry; and deterrence, including through effective legal prosecution and incarceration.

Yet, as the international community has responded, pirates have adapted their tactics, resulting in increasingly numerous and violent attacks, such as the February 22 murder of four American citizens board the S/V Quest.

In a March 30 address sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro noted that an even more energetic and comprehensive international response to piracy is needed.

As outlined by Assistant Secretary Shapiro, the United States is engaging with its international partners to develop a broad range of new counter-piracy options, including steps to:

  • Reinforce international naval patrols in response to more aggressive and widespread pirate activity in the region;
  • Expand the capacity of the international community and states in the region to prosecute and incarcerate suspected pirates captured at sea, as well as their leaders and financiers;
  • Target financial flows from piracy, possibly by using approaches similar to those used to target other organized transnational criminal networks;
  • Encourage the maritime industry to adopt best management practices, self-protection measures which have been effective in deterring piracy;
  • Strengthen the capacity of Somalia and other countries in the region to combat piracy, in particular by contributing to the UN Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States Countering
  • Piracy off the Coast of Somalia; and
  • Continue diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of piracy by supporting initiatives to build governance, security, and economic livelihoods on land in Somalia.

Full text of Assistant Secretary Shapiro’s address is available at: //2009-2017.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rm/159419.htm

PRN: 2011/510