Methodology & Definitions


Intelligence analysis methodology
Risk Intelligence applies an intelligence-driven analytical methodology, which is based on the “Intelligence Circle”. Intelligence is information verified and analysed, and turned into an assessment of the topic at hand.

In addition, Risk Intelligence undertakes its own research into the four mentioned areas (see below) as well as into the role and development of intelligence.

Risk assessment methodology
The security risk assessment process is based on an established industry risk assessment methodology based on the Australian/New Zealand AS/NZS 4360 Risk Management Standard. It maps a specific threat assessment - focused on the most likely threat scenarios, e.g. a hijacking near Somalia - against the vessel’s (or operation’s) vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The outcome is then presented qualitatively and semi-quantitatively in a matrix, which can be adapted to the owner’s, operator’s or customer’s risk acceptance criteria.

The recommendations provided on how to reduce the risks are developed for each assessment report and are thus focused on specific threats (and threat scenarios), assets and consequence criteria. Recommendations are furthermore given to a sufficient level of detail to enable the company or ship to implement specific training, procedures or exercises, and to procure accurately specified material - if necessary - with guidance on its installation for best risk mitigation effect.


Piracy can be seen as either a type of organisation, where the entire group is organised for piracy activities with financial gain being the singular objective, or it can be seen as a tactic to obtain financing employed by organisations with other aims, such as insurgency groups or organised crime syndicates. 

Piracy definition
The piracy definition of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is used, although it allows for low-level theft and crime to be included. However, it describes the act in itself and not the intention of the perpetrator:

"An act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the apparent intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the apparent intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act."

The IMO definition in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (Article 101) explicitly underlines that the act has to be carried out for private ends, which excludes the acts of terrorists, insurgency groups or environmental activists.

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
Any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the:

1) crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

  • on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft
  • against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State

2) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft

3) any act inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in sub-paragraph (1) or (2).

Armed robbery against ships is defined in the Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships (resolution A.922(22), Annex, paragraph 2.2), as follows:
“Armed robbery against ships means any unlawful act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of “piracy”, directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such ship, within a State’s jurisdiction over such offences.”

Translated, it means that according to the IMO:

  • Piracy must involve a criminal act of violence, detention, or depredation.
  • Piracy is committed on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state.
  • The “two-ship rule”. Pirates need to use a ship to attack another ship (which excludes mutiny and barratry).
  • Piracy needs to be committed for private ends, (which excludes the acts of terrorists or environmental activists).
  • Piracy must be committed by the crew or passengers of a privately owned vessel, (which excludes attacks by naval craft).

For the purpose of our model, which focuses on the background motivation of the incidents, the IMO definition does not apply since a part of maritime crime is carried out by groups that are politically motivated on the strategic level, while carrying out the individual activity for financial reasons on the tactical level.

Piracy consists of the following main types of criminal acts:

  • Harbour and anchorage attacks
  • Attacks against vessels at sea: (sea) robbery – also referred to as Asian piracy
  • Attacks against vessels at sea: hijacking with neutralisation of the crew – variation: permanent seizure of a vessel by pirates
  • Kidnap for ransom


Terrorism can refer to either a type of organisation, where the entire group is organised for terrorist activities with a political aim, or it can be seen as a tactic to realise certain sub-goals employed by organisations with other aims, such as insurgency groups or organised crime syndicates. Terrorism is a form of struggle in which violence is deliberately used against civilians in order to achieve political goals (nationalistic, socioeconomic, ideological, and religious). 

Terrorism definitions
Terrorism is violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. These acts are designed to coerce others into actions they would not otherwise undertake, or refrain from actions they desired to take. All terrorist acts are crimes. Many would also be seen as violations of the rules of war, provided a state of war existed. The motives of all terrorists are political, and terrorist actions are generally carried out in a way that will achieve maximum publicity. Unlike other criminal acts, terrorists often claim credit for their acts. Finally, terrorist acts are intended to produce effects beyond the immediate physical damage of the attack or operation, having long-term psychological repercussions on a particular target audience. The fear created by terrorists may be intended to cause people to exaggerate the strengths of the terrorists and the importance of their cause, to provoke governmental overreaction, to discourage dissent, or simply to intimidate and thereby enforce compliance with their demands. 

Analysing terrorism
In order to discuss strategies on how to prevent terrorism, it is first necessary to distinguish between terrorism as a tactic and terrorism as a form of organisation. To understand the background of politically and ideologically motivated terrorism it is important to analyse the root causes of terrorism. Political and economic grievances are among the basic and fundamental root causes. Increasingly, radicalisation of parts of the population or certain religious, ethnic or political groups is an important factor in understanding terrorism. 


Those carrying out an insurgency are “insurgents”. Insurgents engage in regular or guerrilla combat against the armed forces of the established authority, government or administration. Insurgents usually are in opposition to a civil authority or government primarily in order to overthrow or obtain autonomy or independence for a certain geographical area, a share in government, to further a separatist or revolutionary agenda, or improve their condition. In addition to military activity, insurgency organisations may use terrorist attacks to increase awareness of their cause as well as criminal activities such as weapons, drugs, commodity and human smuggling, counterfeit, fraud, illegal money laundering, cargo theft and other forms related to, and often in cooperation with, organised crime syndicates. Furthermore, insurgency groups in proximity of coastal areas and straits have been active in piracy as a financial tactic. 

Insurgency definition
“A protracted political-military activity directed toward completely or partially controlling the resources of a country through the use of irregular military forces and illegal political organisations.” 

Root causes for insurgency are almost as diverse as there are insurgencies around the world and even in one area there might be several insurgencies at the same time. An example is northern India, which has several autonomous or isolated insurgencies, militancies and other movements. The roots of the problem vary from secessionism to demands for states or sub-states within India, or regional autonomy for ethnic areas within the states, or protection of ethnic areas within the states, or protection of ethnic and cultural identities. Economic backwardness, poor infrastructure, unemployment and lack of opportunities seem to be common causes in almost all cases. 

In general, the lack of central state attention to the problems of the population in such areas can lead to insurgency. One of the typical root causes is a combination of ethnic marginalisation and economic grievances. This provides fertile ground for radicalised religious groups e.g. jihadists in Muslim countries/areas, or radicalised political groups e.g. Marxist-Leninist in others. In order to understand insurgency, these are among the important root causes to be analysed. 

Organised crime

Criminal activities relevant to the model include a wide range of areas with illegal (sometimes in combination with legal) ventures for financial gain. The activities include smuggling, human trafficking, theft, robbery, drugs and arms running, counterfeit and fraud.

Organised crime definition
A non-ideological enterprise that involves a number of persons in close social interaction organised on a hierarchical basis for the purpose of securing profit and power by engaging in illegal and legal activities. Positions in the hierarchy and positions involving functional specialisation may be assigned according to skill. Permanency is assumed by the members who strive to keep the enterprise integral and active in pursuit of goals. It eschews competition and strives for monopoly over particular activities on an industry or territorial basis. There is willingness to use violence and/or bribery to achieve ends or maintain discipline. Membership is restricted, although non-members may be involved on a contingency basis.