ARABIAN GULF search and seizure team members pull alongside the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (U.S. Navy photo)

The U.S. Navy is forward deployed across the globe working with its international partners protecting international shipping, and deterring, disrupting and suppressing piracy.

The U.S. Navy Anti-Piracy Unit (aka: Counter-Piracy) is committed to battling modern-day pirates.

GULF OF ADEN search and seizure team from the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) point to a suspected pirate during counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. (U.S. Navy photo)

There are three main regions the Navy focuses its efforts to combat piracy.


Motivated by escalating ransom payments that grew to millions of dollars, Somali men turned to piracy in the mid-2000s. As a result, piracy evolved from a fairly ad hoc, disorganized effort to a highly developed criminal enterprise that focused on hijacking entire merchant vessels in demand for ransom.


The majority of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea occur within 12 nautical miles of the coast. More often, armed robbery and piracy in this region are focused on kidnapping crew for ransom and stealing cargo.


Nearly one quarter of the world’s commerce and half its oil pass through the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea. The majority of piracy incidents are quickly executed, non-confrontational “smash and grab” operations that take place within territorial waters while ships are at anchor or berthed.

Modern day pirates in Southeast Asia (photo courtesy SE Asia Globe)


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