According to the last several Stable Seas State of Maritime Piracy reports, Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing a resurgence of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Though these incidents do not resemble the high seas hijackings seen in other parts of the world, violence against vessels at anchorage, small fishing boats, and yachts is on the rise. Coastal instability in Venezuela is particularly concerning as a potential driver of more frequent and more violent incidents in the future.
In response to this concern, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) kicked off the first session of the virtual series of its Caribbean Forum on Maritime Crime (CFMC) on that very subject. The CFMC itself is to be launched in 2021. It will be an annual umbrella forum that will bring together maritime law enforcers and prosecutors from around the Caribbean Basin to share trends, cases and best practices, build their networks and coordinate responses to the multitude of maritime crime threats affecting their shared maritime space. The first session, held on July 21, convened representatives from 23 countries to discuss recent trends in piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Caribbean.
Curtis Bell, director of Stable Seas, served as the event’s moderator. Lydelle Joubert, Stable Seas’ lead piracy researcher, provided a detailed briefing on how the frequencies and locations of different kinds of attacks have changed over time. They were joined by other panelists from Haiti, Guyana, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Following these meetings, Stable Seas will continue to work closely with the UNODC and other Caribbean partners to improve maritime security in the region. These engagements precede the launch of a major new report, Stable Seas: Caribbean, which will be available in the fall of 2020.