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Piracy off the Somali coasts is currently in top gear. This Focus Paper sets out the factors that contributed to the advent of the Somali piracy and to its continuous adaptation to shifting circumstances, which makes it so successful.

The study also deals with the importance of Somali piracy as a threat to the international navigation, taking into account the economic damage it entails, the security issue in the broad sense as well as the geopolitical context in which Somali piracy and anti-piracy measures should be considered.

On the basis of data on attacks on ships, we analyse the developments of Somali piracy. Special attention is given to the growing intensity of this phenomenon, both as regards the number of attacks and their geographic spread, partly as a reaction to the international anti-piracy initiatives, partly as the result of the developments in Somalia.

This paper also describes the international and Belgian efforts to fight against the phenomenon. Finally, some conclusions from the different chapters are drawn and recommendations relating to the future approach to this issue are offered.