Pirates vs. Private Security: Commercial Shipping, the Montreux Document, and the Battle for the Gulf of Aden

Coito, Joel Christopher
February 2013
California Law Review;Feb2013, Vol. 101 Issue 1, p173
Academic Journal
The scourge of Somali piracy has imperiled the free movement of commercial shipping vessels in the Gulf of Aden, a major conduit of global commerce. A "grand armada" of international naval forces sent to safeguard commercial vessels near Somalia has been unable to stem the growth of Somali pirate syndicates capable of brazen attacks and bolstered by the promise of multimillion dollar ransoms. This Comment explores the commercial shipping industry's increasing reliance on private military and security companies (PMSCs) to secure their vessels, cargo, and crews from pirate attacks. The International Maritime Organization and other groups have vehemently opposed PMSC employment aboard commercial vessels, citing the inevitable escalation of violence and excessive use of force that are part of the PMSC modus operandi. This Comment highlights the factual underpinnings that animate these concerns and suggests that the PMSC misconduct in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan provide instructive, indeed critical, lessons regarding the responsible employment of PMSC forces to combat piracy.


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