Finally it seems pressure is building to find new ways and means of collecting, collating and distributing data on¬†maritime security issues.
The old¬†High Seas distinction between piracy and armed robbery is being eaten away by a failing ability for States to¬†control their own territorial waters.
The boom in piracy over the past 8 years has slowly turned the screw and¬†raised both the stakes and¬†awareness of the need to collect and understand¬†data concerning pirate attacks.
While the past saw just the¬†holy trinity of the¬†IMB, IMO and RECAAP gathering data, we now have a myriad of¬†independent sources. The (mainly) former military personnel within these companies¬†have their own methodology, and are not seemingly bound by a reverential respect for the ways things have been done. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be harnessed and focused on actual solutions, rather than just automatically decrying the work which has gone before.
The new players and the data they promulgate are driving new levels of scrutiny in the media and across the shipping industry ‚Äì what we find is that¬†there is disparity in reports, and without any form of common unifying standards it seems that uncertainty is set to reign for the foreseeable.
In the past there have been calls for a single independent reporting body to tackle under-reporting.¬† With this latest reporting oversight, perhaps the calls will become even louder.
However, it seems that having one centralised reporting body is only one answer ‚Äì we perhaps need to develop new criteria and definitions to better define the problems facing shipping. The term ‚Äúpiracy‚Äù, has seemingly run its course ‚Äì and if we are to build a new system of monitoring, data collection and reporting, then we perhaps need to dismantle the old barriers to understanding, such as outmoded, complex and divisive definitions of what maritime crime represents. We can only hope that we have reached a tipping point, and that the shameful facts that no-one seemingly knows what the true level of threat is will prompt action.