Seafarer Report
Political Conflict

After the Release: The Long-Term Behavioral Impact of Piracy on Seafarers and Families

Author(s): Conor Seyle, Chirag Bahri, Kellie Brandt, Alexander Dimitrievich, Karina Fernandez, Tom Holmer, Niyati Malhotra
Date: June 24, 2016
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Political Conflict

Overview:

More than 3,000 seafarers have been held hostage by Somali pirates since 2001, with a significant, but unknown, number of seafarers kidnapped in other parts of the world. These seafarers, and their families, have faced fear and uncertainty, and in some cases, direct abuse. In addition to the 41 seafarers who remain in captivity as of the release of this report, the thousands of seafarers who have returned to their regular lives after being held hostage must address the challenges of reintegration and coping with their experiences.

This research report explores the long-term impact of piracy on seafarer and family recovery. It is based on a series of interviews and structured surveys collected from 465 seafarers in three major seafaring countries: India, the Philippines, and Ukraine. These seafarers included 101 former hostages and 364 non-hostages, and also 38 family members of seafarers.

Key Findings:

  • Seafarers are resilient, but a sizeable minority of hostages show lasting effects. Most seafarers who have been held hostage do not show lasting impairment in their mental or behavioral health, but 25.77% of former hostages have symptoms consistent with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These seafarers are at higher risk of having poor overall well-being, as well. 
  • Being held hostage, more than any other type of piracy experience, leads to lasting effects. Many seafarers are exposed to different types of threats from pirates, ranging from the tensions of transiting through the high-risk areas to actually being attacked. Only hostage experiences are related to a significantly increased risk of PTSD. 
  • Seafarers are exposed to a fairly high number and degree of traumatic experiences in the course of their regular employment. The maritime environment is dangerous, and seafarers are regularly exposed to traumatic experiences other than piracy. These experiences have an independent impact on post-traumatic stress symptoms and can negatively affect seafarer well-being. 
  • Traumatic experiences impact the decisions seafarers make about their work.Seafarers with higher levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms are more likely to think about piracy when taking contracts, and more likely to have declined a job due to piracy risk. 
  • Families of hostages can have problems getting information about their loved ones, and many suffer lasting distress. Less than 50% of family members of hostages feel that they had good information about what was happening to their seafarer, and more than 30% of spouses of seafarers report that they have no idea how they would get information if something bad happened while their seafarer was at sea. A large minority of the family members of hostages show lasting behavioral effects from their experiences. 

This publication is also available in Russian language.

View/Download Report (Russian)
View/Download Executive Summary (Russian)

 


Related Publications

Recent Trends in Civil War Dynamics

Reassessing Rebellion

Written by Jay Benson, Eric Keels, Joshua Lambert on March 15, 2019

Though historically the number of armed conflicts has been declining, there has been a recent surge in ongoing civil wars. Intrastate armed conflicts therefore represent a persistent and dangerous threat to global stability.

Read more
A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Peace is Ours: A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Written by Alexandra Amling, Timothy Schommer, Illustrator: Chloé Dolic on March 6, 2019

Peace is Ours is the story of a young couple, Ximena and Jair, who attempt to build their lives in the shadow of the Colombian peace process in 2016.

Read more
gender and reintegration in colombia

The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia's Reintegration Efforts

Written by Alexandra Amling on March 5, 2019

Gender perspectives are understood as the differences in needs and challenges of men, women, boys, and girls which are based on the social construction of gender roles and norms.

Read more
exploring the puzzle rebel terrorism

Exploring the Puzzle of Rebel Terrorism

Written by Eric Keels on December 11, 2018

The decision by rebel groups to employ terrorism is influenced, in part, by the structure of rebel organizations as well as the strategic environment in which they operate.

Read more
The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

Written by , on July 19, 2018

This discussion paper analyzes the structural and causal factors that led to the collapse of Mozambique’s landmark 1992 General Peace Agreement in October 2013 and why they matter for the country’s future stability.

Read more

The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: Implications for Peace Enforcement

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

UN peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent years to include more robust missions that pursue peace enforcement in a way not previously seen.

Read more
cover of geography of violence against civilians

Policy Brief: Peace Enforcement and the Geography of Violence Against Civilians

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

Peace enforcement has become the subject of vigorous debate among both policy makers and academics working in the field of peace operations.

Read more
Threat of World War

THE ENDURING THREAT OF A LARGE INTERSTATE WAR

Written by Aaron Clauset on September 20, 2017

Since 1945, there have been relatively few large interstate wars, especially compared to the preceding 30 years. The implications of this pattern, sometimes called “the Long Peace,” remain highly controversial. Is this an enduring trend toward peace

Read more

Pages