This paper is part of the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies’ Working Paper Series on threats to the global economy.
The publication focuses on the geopolitical threat: piracy. It considers the threat to international shipping networks and commerce that depends on these networks, from organised crime in the form of piracy at sea.
In this paper, the phenomenon of piracy is profiled, with a history and quantification of recent trends. The geography of the threat is described and an index for global terrorism activity is proposed. The potential for step-changes in the level of pirate activity is considered, along with ‘control process’ constraints that limit the rate of change that might be possible. A scenario for extreme pirate activity is featured for use as a stress test in risk management, consistent with a ‘1 in 100’ probability of occurrence.