The need to regulate and police the maritime domain to tackle global threats is as pressing as ever, according to Phil Cable, CEO and cofounder of maritime security company MAST.
“The global threats faced by the maritime environment, whether it be terrorist, pirate, illegal fishing, human trafficking or narcotics smuggling, stem from lack of law and order,” Cable stated, speaking at the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (MLAANZ) Conference 2015 in Perth, Australia, Thursday.
“The reason for this is that many states lack the organization, finance or will to police and manage their territorial waters or economic zone, or they are, like Yemen, Libya, or Somalia failed or near failed states thus creating a permissive environment for criminality,” Cable said.
He added, “Whilst the Indian Ocean can now be considered one of the safest oceans on the planet, the threat of piracy has not been eliminated. It is international navies on patrol, Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4) and armed guards that are preventing a return to piracy by Somalis.
“This combined with a recent spate of attacks in Southeast Asia, the Gulf of Guinea and increased people trafficking out of Libya, and between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, suggests that global threats to shipping are far from eradicated.
Cable explained that there are two main types of threats to shipping in Southeast Asia in the form of violent boardings/robberies and more sophisticated attacks whereby a vessel’s cargo is stolen. The threat in the Gulf of Guinea is dominated by boardings with the purpose of kidnapping crew members for ransom.
He said, “One of the main challenges to address these threats is the lack of regional cooperation creating a plethora of legal and jurisdictional requirements as well as the lack of acceptance that public-private partnerships are the key to develop a sustainable force capable of regulating and policing the maritime flank.
“Maritime crime is a problem that needs engagement from all players – government, law enforcement, the shipping industry and its associates which include the security industry. Growing the capabilities to manage the maritime domain is complex and must be underpinned by high standards of training for Coast Guard operators and maritime law enforcement officers. The private sector is inherently well equipped to step in and provide governments with the assistance they need to develop their ability to manage their maritime tapestry.”