USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Sean C. Cornell

First Advisor

Thesis Director: Erica Heinsen-Roach, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences


University of South Florida at St. Petersburg



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In 2011, the UN recognized the problem of general piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea. However, the international community and regional authorities have failed to deter this problem thus far. I will compare this situation to the successful dealings with piracy in Somalia, of which existing conditions and adaptations of law allowed for international involvement to restore order and eliminate the feasibility of the crime. Anti-piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has unfortunately been ineffective due to international law conflicting with domestic laws and politics. I will discuss several issues, such as jurisdictional limitations, ineffective criminal justice in local courts, complex local politics, and ambiguity regarding the application of piracy and terrorism laws, to demonstrate the complexity and ineffectiveness of current actions. I will conclude that, although both East and West African piracy emerged as a result of “weak states,” the contradictions and limitations of international law have created a sustainable climate for piracy to flourish in West Africa.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

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