Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Piracy and maritime Terrorism as a Challenge for Maritime Trade Security

Germany Icon
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

German shipping companies use most container carriers worldwide - and complain about the highest number of pirate attacks. But not only container ships are threatened. Passenger ships are also the target of piracy. Furthermore, the danger of maritime terrorism cannot be ruled out. These threats can seriously affect maritime trade.


The aim of the PiraT project is to facilitate the information exchange between maritime operators, such as the authorities and shipping companies, and to figure out the needs and expectations of the maritime industry. Based on these findings, an overall concept is to be developed which combines political risk analyses and technological security solutions with legal and economic aspects. The aim is to develop holistic, non-military options to strengthen the maritime trade security.


In order to understand and define the threats, a risk model is created. In a second step, the coordination of the actors involved is to be analysed using the concept of "security governance". Thirdly, the distribution of the damage to the German economy is identified in a sector-specific way, which is particularly important for consignors of goods and the insurance industry. Furthermore, new safety technologies, such as electric fences on ships, are tested for their suitability and cost-effectiveness for pirate repatriation. In addition, an overview on the international, European and national legal standards should show further measures against piracy.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry of Education and Research


The project network PiraT wants to provide a forum in which representatives of politics, business and academia can exchange views and share knowledge on maritime trade security. Perceptions of threat as well as the needs and expectations of a wide range of actors affected will be discussed and compared to enable a joint, coordinated and coherent procedure.

Secure sea routes are the central requirement for the stability of supply chains. Incidents of piracy and terrorist attacks on international shipping lead to a need for risk minimization measures. As an export oriented economy, Germany is dependent on secure sea routes. German managed ships have nonetheless been victim to maritime violence. This led, inter alia, to German participation in military missions such as Atalanta, to approval of new rules for the licensing of private security providers and the pirate trial in Hamburg. Based on a common risk model and the concept of Security Governance, the subject has been addressed conceptually, empirically and practically. German shipowners and insurers were asked about their experiences; experts reviewed defence technologies; and using interviews, the responsibilities and roles of various state actors in the field of maritime security were identified for the first time. After a deficit analysis was conducted, recommendations for action from the areas of politics, law, economics and technology were developed by the 'PiraT‘project network

The findings of the project are provided within the combined publication "Piraterie und maritimer Terrorismus als Herausforderungen für die Seehandelssicherheit Deutschlands" which can be ordered via .

Findings of the study are published in detail by several final reports of the project partners (free of charge, German only) which are available online via the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB):

the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH):
"Security Policy Analysis and Options for Action"

the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Berlin:
"Economic aspects"

the Hamburg-Harburg University of Technology (TUHH):
"security analysis and measures"

the Bucerius Law School (BLS), Hamburg
"legal aspects"


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!