Copyright (c) 1999 ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law
ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law
ARTICLE: ANTI-PIRACY LAW IN THE YEAR OF THE OCEAN: PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITY
5 ILSA J Int'l & Comp L 309
Samuel Pyeatt Menefee *
The 20th century has provided an unparalleled occasion for the explosion of maritime violence. Piracy continues to be with us and contemporary masters, shippers and crew need also keep a "weather eye" for political extremists and ecoterrorists, smuggling violence and anonymous mines, telephoned threats and other abuses using new cutting-edge technology. Truly, the forces of maritime crime have never had it so good. 1
This is an appropriate, if perhaps unexpected, coda to a centennium which featured pirate expert Philip Gosse's optimistic assertion that "[t]he end of piracy, after centuries, was brought about by public feeling, backed up by the steam-engine and telegraph." 2 Gosse's report of the crime's demise was, alas, premature; 1997 saw 247 attacks 3 recorded by the I.C.C. International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre, while 1998, the "Year of the Ocean," has suffered 126 incidents through September 30th. 4 As the landfall of a new millenium approaches, it seems particularly appropriate to take soundings and sightings on the continuing problem of piracy. While this survey is abbreviated in nature, it is hoped that it will point the way to more positive responses to maritime crimes.
I. Problems in Defining Piracy
Definitional problems date back at least as far as the American Civil War, when the Union deemed operations undertaken by Confederate naval sympathizers to be "piratical" in nature. 5 The 20th century has seen similar controversies over German U-Boat attacks in World War I, 6 Soviet Bloc charges concerning Republic of ...
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