"Piracy is Exploding"

By MarEx 2014-09-15 13:25:00

Today, when most Americans think of modern pirates, they envision seized commercial ships and captives through the lens of the Oscar-nominated film “Captain Phillips.” Yet, pirates have shifted across the globe, from the Horn of Africa to southern Asia, exploding in the world’s most heavily trafficked commercial waterway to steal cargos of valuable liquid fuel.

CNBC.com’s Senior Enterprise Editor Ted Kemp traveled to Singapore to investigate this new style of pirate that is costing the global economy millions. From a business standpoint, the boom in south Asian piracy makes a lot of sense. Each year, a third of the world’s shipping moves through the Singapore Strait and Strait of Malacca and the area handles all of the oil trade between the Persian Gulf and the big economies of Asia. However, these pirate are often not small-time. Speaking with piracy and area experts, Kemp’s research suggests that the crews are highly organized criminal enterprises that gather intelligence, coordinate attacks and work in discrete teams to sell what they steal to big, pre-arranged buyers.

And it costs real money — especially for shipping companies. In a world where 90% of global trade is moved by sea, maritime piracy now costs shippers between $4 billion and $8.5 billion a year.

The full story with details on this growing enterprise is available on CNBC.com: “Crime on the high seas: The world’s most pirated waters.”