What is Piracy?
Piracy refers to a war-like act committed by individuals who are not affiliated with a governing body or a defined nation. Those private parties, charged with piracy, typically engage in acts of robbery and criminal violence at sea.
Acts of piracy can take place at sea, but typically arise on land boundaries. Those involved with piracy organizations do not have any ties or allegations to defined governments. As a result, their actions are typically motivated through organizational needs.
The term ‘piracy’ can include a variety of acts which are committed on the open sea or on shore. Although the majority of these organizations or gangs operate out of the jurisdiction of governing bodies, the predominant characteristic of their action involves the lack of affiliation with a governing body.
Piracy does not typically include crimes committed against persons travelling on the open sea in a vessel, but instead raids across land borders by non-affiliated agents. A common misconception involving piracy is that those involved with the crime steal goods or cargo from another ship. Although this is an action incorporated with the legal definition of piracy, those who are engaged with the act typically engage in raids on land.
Maritime piracy, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, incorporates any criminal act of violence, rape, detention, or depredation committed for private means by the crew or passengers of a private vessel that is directed on the open seas against another ship, or against persons or property on board a ship.