Danger on the High Seas
Armed guards still divide many in the shipping industry.
Danger on the High Seas: Are Private Security Firms the Solution?
In 2013, 80 percent of trade was transported by sea. This number has steadily increased, a reflection of growth among developing economies and those same economies’ surging energy needs. The Indian Ocean and its connected seas have become increasingly busy due to global energy demands, South Asia’s development, and trade between Asia and Europe. However, as Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) become more crowded, various maritime security risks have also increased. Piracy, trafficking and other criminal enterprises threaten to disrupt commerce, destabilize price structures and increase maritime tensions, both between nation-states and among private firms. To counter these effects, nation-states have collaborated using a variety of methods that include joint military exercises, bilateral agreements and multinational task forces. But despite these efforts, attacks continue to occur. As a consequence, more and more private companies are looking for private security options that will ensure that their goods get safely to their destinations. While this shift carries the potential for more secure maritime transit, it also comes with a host of legal and diplomatic issues as armed private security teams take to the high seas.
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