Anticipating attack may be the best way of fighting. There could soon be a way to predict piracy in hotspots throughout the world’s oceans.
The US Navy has filed a patent describing a model that predicts the risk of maritime pirate attack for a given location. Their algorithm takes into account intelligence gathered on pirate movements and METOC, basically a profile of weather and oceanic conditions. Based on equipment and capabilities (type of boats they possess, manpower etc) they believe various pirate groups to have, the AI can predict if the groups will be able to mount an offensive under the current conditions and how far they could get. The program uses all the data to run “model pirate trajectories” simulating enough possible pirate movements to be able to predict the probability of attack in any given area. The Navy can then plot and display these probabilities to chart safer sea paths.
Oceans Beyond Piracy’s Maritime Piracy 2014 assessment reports that a total of 5,009 seafarers were attacked by pirates that year. The attacks in the piracy ‘areas of interest’ of Gulf of Guinea and the Western Indian Ocean—the region that includes Horn of Africa attacks— costed (including damges and rerouting) $983 million and $2.3 billion respectively.