New Approach to Maritime Insecurity

Ioannis Chapsos and James A. Malcolm explain thier thoughts on the key causes of maritime insecurity and how they can utilise that knowledge to improve maritime security.

‘To achieve greater and more sustainable maritime security, we need to look at maritime insecurity in a different way.’

By Ioannis Chapsos and James A. Malcolm

Examining maritime security from a purely business perspective (utilising a financial cost/benefit analysis) or by focusing on the latest big threat or danger area in isolation, may help us to deal with maritime insecurity in the short term, but remains of limited value in helping us to achieve greater and more sustainable maritime security.

Almost all the international shipping choke points, which affect directly energy, food and economic security, are also maritime insecurity hot spots. South East Asia has had to cope for many years with piracy; the Horn of Africa demonstrates the interconnectedness between illegal fishing, trafficking and piracy; while the Gulf of Guinea, is a notorious West African hub of organised crime.

Besides the vast and lawless space of the sea, the causal factors of maritime insecurity also include favourable geography and weak or compliant states that provide safe havens and sanctuaries. No matter if we focus on piracy, illegal fishing, trafficking related crimes or port insecurity, the record of incidents around the globe verify that their genesis and sustainability is closely associated with the location of state fragility.

As a result, to achieve greater and more sustainable maritime security it is time to look at maritime insecurity in a more holistic and strategic manner. We need to recognise the interconnections between the different dimensions of maritime insecurity, ensuring that those responsible for responding to the challenges posed, consider the implications of their actions on the maritime environment as a whole. We also need to place the examination of the causes of maritime insecurity at the very heart of efforts to achieve maritime security. This will require us to increasingly look ashore where instability fuels insecurity at sea, whilst considering wider trends in global security that may influence developments at sea.

This is the approach utilised by the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies,Coventry University in both our research and teaching on maritime security. Our new online MA in Maritime Security launches towards the end of December, with the scholarship deadline closing on 14th November. For more information please click here.



Do you agree with their assessment of the situation?  Have they missed a factor that you feel is more pertinent?


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