Africa: U.S. Issues New Plan to Combat Piracy, Enhance Maritime Security

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Washington — A new plan released by the Obama administration June 20 lays out "scalable, flexible frameworks on specific maritime issues" that will guide U.S. actions against piracy and in support of maritime security.

The U.S. Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan "affirms the vital national interest of the United States in maritime security and recognizes that nations have a common interest in achieving two complementary objectives: facilitating the vibrant maritime commerce that underpins economic security; and protecting against piracy, robbery at sea, and related maritime crime," according to the "Background" section of the report.

The United States has long been a leader in maritime security, including in countering the threat of piracy, the White House Office said in a press release announcing the report, adding that since 2009, the United States has organized and led the international effort that has seen successful pirate attacks decline off the coast of Somalia dramatically.

In the spirit of this leadership and commitment to ensuring safety at sea, the United States developed the Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan. The plan implements the National Strategy for Maritime Security, and the Policy for the Repression of Piracy and other Criminal Acts of Violence at Sea.

The United States will continue to seek to strengthen regional governance and rule of law to maintain the safety and security of mariners, preserve freedom of the seas and promote free flow of commerce through lawful economic activity.

The plan aims to provide clear strategic guidance for counterpiracy efforts and affirms that the United States will use all appropriate instruments of national power to repress piracy and related maritime crimes.

The Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan focuses on three core areas:

- Prevention of attacks.

- Response to acts of maritime crime.

- Enhancing maritime security and governance.

It also provides specific frameworks for the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Guinea regions that establish tailored, specific methodology for these regions and provide guidance on how the United States will respond to the regional threats associated with the varying geographic, political and legal environments.

The new Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Action Plan supersedes the Countering Piracy off the Horn of Africa: Partnership & Action Plan of 2008, according to the White House.

The full report (PDF, 343KB) is available on the White House website.

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