Contemporary Nigerian-based Piracy: An Assessment of the Harms

Bryan Peters
This research set out to systematically and empirically assess the harms of contemporary Nigerian-based piracy across multiple bearers and interest dimensions. To do so, an innovative harm assessment framework, developed by Greenfield and Paoli (2013) was employed. The assessment framework, a multi-step exercise comprised of distinct analytical phases and processes, required the articulation of business models for each of the primary modes of Nigerian-based piracy, the identification of possible harms and bearers, the evaluation of the incidence and severity of actual harms, the rating and prioritization of harms and finally, investigating potential causes of the identified harms. To do so, a mixed-methods approach was employed relying on both primary and secondary data sources. Methods included an extensive literature review, content analysis of over 400 piracy incident reports and semi-structured interviews.

Onrustige wateren: een onderzoek naar de schade van de Nigeriaanse piraterij

Een eeuwenoud fenomeen — een nieuwe manifestatie

Piraterij is een eeuwenoud fenomeen waarvan koopvaardersschepen al sinds het begin van de handel op zee slachtoffer zijn geworden. Hoewel het een chronische zorg van zeelieden is, werd piraterij gedurende een groot deel van de afgelopen eeuw door velen beschouwd als een ding van het verleden. Het opkomen en de snelle escalatie van Somalische piraterij rondom de Hoorn van Afrika aan het begin van de  21e eeuw veranderde dit idee echter abrupt. Incidenten van piraterij, die zich voordoen in geïsoleerde delen van de wereld, werden opnieuw erkend als belangrijke bedreiging voor de veiligheid, met verstrekkende gevolgen. Deze opvatting werd verder versterkt door de toename van de piraterij  in de wateren rondom Zuidoost-Azië, Zuid-Azië, het Indiase subcontinent en West-Afrika. Deels door een groot aantal internationale en regionale interventies gericht op handhaving en capaciteitsopbouw, zijn er gematigde successen geboekt bij de bestrijding van piraterij voor de Hoorn van Afrika en in de Straten van Malakka en Singapore. Hetzelfde kan helaas niet gezegd worden over West-Afrika, met name als we kijken naar de wateren rondom Nigeria.

Het slechtste van het slechtste

De Golf van Guinee (GoG) wordt inmiddels erkend als ‘s werelds meest gevaarlijke en gewelddadige maritieme locatie, met Nigeria als "epicentrum". Het geromantiseerde beeld van piraten, die in film en literatuur vaak worden neergezet als roekeloze avonturiers die de zee trotseren, is geen accurate beschrijving van moderne piraten. Nigeriaanse piratengroepen zijn goed georganiseerde, winst-zoekende criminele syndikaten, die worden geholpen door hun verbindingen met corrupte ambtenaren. Ze zijn vaak zwaar bewapend, en niet bang om geweld te gebruiken om hun doelen te bereiken.  Nigeriaanse piraterij  heeft andere wereldwijde piraterij "hotspots"  ingehaald en heeft  zich verspreid over de GoG regio, met alle gevolgen van dien. De wateren rondom Nigeria, en met name die in en rond de rivier Delta van de Niger, zijn nu berucht voor de ontvoeringen die in de afgelopen jaren gestaag zijn toegenomen. Volgens het Internationaal Maritiem Bureau (IMB), werd wereldwijd 25%  van alle gemelde piraterij in 2018 gepleegd in de kustwateren van Nigeria, een duidelijke stijging ten opzichte van het voorgaande jaar. Net zo verontrustend als de vorige cijfers, bleken in 2018 de helft van alle wereldwijd gekidnapte zeevarenden in de wateren rondom Nigeria te zijn ontvoerd. In de afgelopen 10  jaar hebben deze misdaden geleid tot een totaal van 46 sterfgevallen, 125 gewonden en 327 ontvoerde personen.

Diepgaande en ingrijpende gevolgen

De maatschappelijke gevolgen van deze nog ongehinderde criminaliteit zijn groot, niet alleen voor Nigeria, maar voor de hele GoG-regio en zelfs daarbuiten.  Naast de voor de hand liggende bedreiging voor zeevarenden, is de sociale en geostrategische relevantie van de piraterij in Nigeria om verschillende redenen belangrijk. Gezien het feit dat 80% van de mondiale handel via de zee wordt vervoerd, kan piraterij nadelige gevolgen hebben voor economieën en de handel bedreigen.  Wereldwijde verzekering van grondstoffen is potentieel in gevaar omdat de GoG enorme olie-en gasreserves bevat, met Nigeria als belangrijkste producent en exporteur. Er bestaat ook de mogelijkheid dat er verbindingen ontstaan tussen de piraten, militante groeperingen, terroristen en georganiseerde criminele netwerken. Tenslotte bedreigt piraterij de regionale voedselzekerheid.

Wat kan er worden gedaan?

In het huidige klimaat, gekenmerkt door corruptie en een gebrek aan politieke wil bij de Nigeriaanse regering, is het waarschijnlijk dat deze misdaden zullen voortduren. Ondanks deze schijnbaar pessimistische prognose, kunnen pogingen worden gedaan om de schade die door deze misdaden wordt opgelopen te verminderen. Het concept van schade wordt gebruikt voor het identificeren en prioritiseren van ernstige misdrijven door de Europese Unie. Ook is schade-vermindering een basisprincipe van het drugscontrolebeleid in vele gebieden.

Gebaseerd op een analyse van meer dan 400 incidentenrapporten over piraterij (van 2009 tot 2018), inzichten opgedaan uit bestaande literatuur en diepte-interviews met experts op het gebied van piraterij, trachtte researcher Bryan Peters systematisch te analyseren wat de schade van de Nigeriaanse piraterij is met behulp van een innovatief en getest analytisch kader ontwikkeld door KU Leuven criminoloog professor Dr. Letizia Paoli en RAND Corporation econoom Dr. Victoria Greenfield.  Dit proces betrof het identificeren van de soorten piraterij aanwezig in de Nigeriaanse wateren en opstellen van gedetailleerde  businessmodellen  (modus operandi)  voor elk van deze soorten. De businessmodellen zijn de basis voor het identificeren van schade en dragers (individuen en entiteiten die schade hebben geleden), maar ook om de incidentie en ernst te evalueren. De schade werd vervolgens geprioritiseerd op basis van schalen met betrekking tot hoe vaak het voorkomt en hoe ernstig de gevolgen zijn. Ten slotte werden implicaties voor interventies tegen piraterij onderzocht op basis van de bevindingen en beoordelingen.

Meer bescherming nodig voor zeevarenden

Deze analyse heeft een aantal beleidsrelevante bevindingen opgeleverd. De resultaten van het onderzoek suggereren dat, ondanks het feit dat het de huidige wereldwijde piraterij "hot spot" is, incidenten zeldzaam zijn in verhouding tot de schattingen van het scheepsverkeer voor deze regio. Hoewel piraterij over het algemeen zeldzaam was, had deze misdaad nog steeds een aanzienlijke  invloed op alle aan dragers en produceerde het ernstige schade, waarvan een groot deel het directe gevolg van geweld wa. Zeevaarders lijken het meest te lijden onder piraterij, zij ervaren de meeste schade, evenals de meest ernstige schade,  maar hun slachtofferschap wordt vaak als minderwaardig gezien in vergelijking met die van de overheid en organisaties uit de particuliere sector. Deze verwaarlozing wordt bevestigd in een groot deel van de literatuur over piraterij, maar de bevindingen van dit onderzoek impliceren dat hun slachtofferschap meer prominent te zien zou moeten zijn. Vanuit wetenschappelijk oogpunt was dit de eerste empirische en systematische analyse van de schade van piraterij. Het biedt ons daarom een waardevolle aanvulling op een ernstig onderbestudeerd fenomeen op het gebied van criminologie en draagt bij aan het opkomende onderzoek dat zich zal richten op de schade van criminaliteit.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master of Science (MSc) in Criminology
Publicatiejaar
2019
Promotor(en)
Professor Dr. Letizia Paoli
Kernwoorden
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