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Piracy statistics

The statistics presented on this page are for information purposes only. The statistics are to be used with the understanding that they are compiled using NATO's discernment of the Best Management Practices definitions. Further amplifications and terminology is provided below.


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Suspicious Activity is any piracy related event that is suspicious enough to warrant consideration and sharing with the merchant shipping community, but does not have sufficient weight to constitute an approach, attack, or Pirated/Hijacked vessel.

An Approach is any piracy event that is suspicious enough to warrant consideration and includes actions by a suspicious vessel closing on a steady bearing, having a very close CPA, and/or weapons clearly seen on display as a show of force or threat against the vessel but have not yet been discharged against the merchant vessel.  An Approach is not an attack, or Pirated/Hijacked Vessel.

An Attack is any piracy event that has been clearly deemed as a threat against a merchant vessel.  An attack may have escalated from Suspicious Activity and Approach, but it is clear that weapons have been discharged against the merchant vessel, or a clear attempt to board the vessel has been made.  This is determined by the attacking vessel(s):  a) discharging weapons fire against, b) making contact with, and/or c) having illegally boarded (but have not gotten control of both propulsion and steerage of) the merchant vessel.  An Attack is not an approach or pirated/hijacked vessel.

A Pirated/Hijacked Vessel is an attack where the vessel has been boarded by pirates and the master/crew has lost control of both steerage and propulsion.

A Disruption is any of the above categories that have been confirmed as having been interrupted by Military intervention.