2013 | 5(1) | 159-172
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Maritime Piracy in the Substantive Criminal Law

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The author has attempted a comprehensive analysis of offences aimed at penalizing criminal behaviour that are closely linked to the phenomenon of maritime piracy. The analysis is preceded by general remarks and the introduction of incentives to present solutions coming from the international conventions ratified by Poland to the Polish Penal Code. Practice shows that the most common type of pirate attack is an attempt to board a ship and the successful takeover of a ship. After getting on board the perpetrators try to rob the ship of those things which are of any value. Pirate attacks are inevitably associated with the acquisition of control over that same ship. Marine robbers are primarily armed with knives, machetes and firearms. Therefore, the author has conducted a detailed review of the provisions typified in Art. 166, Art. 167 and Art. 170 of the Penal Code — the flagship offences from the range of maritime pirate crimes. Crime involving the takeover of a ship is analysed first, and then the author focuses on the offence of placing dangerous devices or substances on a ship. Finally, is considered a sui generis crime known as preparatory acts to maritime mugging. These crimes are committed within the criminal jurisdiction of the Polish state very rarely because the Polish criminal law has a specific range of activities. The negligible amount of crime is also because the wording of those provisions is not entirely clear. The author concludes that the phenomenon of maritime piracy, even though it is a relatively broad concept, is fully reflected in the Polish legislation discussed in this paper. It should be recognized that the crimes discussed are inherently embedded in the definition of the standard of maritime piracy crimes so giving justice effective opportunities to penalize this dynamic criminological phenomenon.
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