Modern maritime piracy has become a significant issue which costs the global economy $24.5 billion per year. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reports that attacks in major waterways have increased over the past decades. Extensive research has been done with regard to countering piracy and understanding the resurgence of attacks since the early ‘90s. What are the mechanisms which drive different people in different countries across the globe to all participate in such illegal activities? One of these mechanisms is addressed in a research notes article recently published in the journal Studies in Conflicts and Terrorism.
In a recent article in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Sam Bateman makes predictions about how the maritime environment of East Asia might evolve over the next decade. The article identifies three possible scenarios for the future, as well as the risks of a “strategic shock” that could interfere with predictions of the future. The objective is to assess the implications of current strategic trends for managing regional seas and activities within them. The scenarios offer alternative views of how the regional maritime environment might evolve: whether it will be much the same as at present (the status quo scenario); better than at present, more stable and with enhanced maritime cooperation to manage regional seas (the optimistic scenario); or worse than at present with greater instability, more competition, and low levels of maritime cooperation leading to further degradation of the marine environment and declining fish stocks (the pessimistic scenario). The article concludes with an argument that strengthening operational trust between the stakeholders and agencies involved is crucial to avoid the pessimistic scenario and to move the region toward the optimist scenario.
In March 2015, the U.S. published its updated and revised “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged, Ready (CS-21R). CS-21R was developed jointly by the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. It is one of the first official documents that tries to translate the strategic “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific”, outlined in the 2012 Defence Guidelines (U.S. Department of Defense 2012: 2), into military practice. CS-21R is concerned, among others, with the modernization and expansion of Chinese defence systems and challenges to U.S naval supremacy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. CS-21R is designed to reassure U.S. allies, to enhance the forward presence of U.S. maritime forces and to guarantee U.S. command of the commons and freedom of action in the maritime domain. CS-21R has far reaching implication for the future of the international system and world peace and security. The world’s oceans are no longer seen as a post-Cold War liberal space of interdependence, exchange and cooperation. Instead, CS-21R portrays the maritime domain in realist terms and as an emerging geopolitical and military battlefield. We might be witnessing the beginning of a new era of interstate conflict and rivalry over maritime power. World order, so to say, is about to change at sea, and CS-21R is a significant milestones in this process.
Hans Liwång, (Swedish Defence University), Karl Sörenson (Swedish Defence University) and Cecilia Österman (Linnaeus University)
Ship security measures are often the first and only measures preventing criminal acts at sea. At the same time ship operators have had problems defending the quality of their ship security analysis when it is challenged. Ship security management is today prescribed to be risk-based which has two objectives: to effectively reduce the security risk to acceptable levels, and to create a security culture in the organization that supports effective ship operation on an everyday basis. Handling the organizational culture is especially challenging because of the subjective nature of risk perception. Another challenge is that risk analysis often suffers from a too narrow perspective when it comes to identifying threat, hazards and consequences. In a recently published article in the WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, the authors identify challenges for ship operators when preparing for security threats. The study investigated the methodology for risk analysis. It focuses on two central aspects: understanding the threat and understanding how a security threat can affect the crew and operation of the ship. These two areas were chosen because they are not assumed to be a natural part of a ship operator’s organizational knowledge although they are crucial for successful risk mitigation.
Terrence Lee and Kevin McGahan, National University of Singapore
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are the three key littoral countries that border the Straits of Malacca, a major waterway and transit area in Southeast Asia which has traditionally witnessed a fair amount of maritime piracy through the ages. While these countries generally hold many things in common, such as historical, linguistic and cultural ties, they are also differ significantly in terms of strategic and economic interests. Despite these important differences, why have Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia been able to cooperate in implementing and enforcing an anti-piracy regime that has been relatively effective? In a recently published article in the Pacific Review, we seek to engage this research question. We initially draw on theories in international relations that are informed by rational choice to explain international cooperation, namely neorealism and neoliberal institutionalism. We argue that key developments of the anti-piracy regime are not fully explained by such rationalist theories, which often stress strategic and material interests of states. In fact, despite rising levels of piracy in the Straits that threatened commercial and strategic goals, for many years the littoral states demonstrated only modest cooperative initiatives.
Global Directions, Merton College Oxford in Conjunction with the Hudson Trust and the First Sea Lord’s Fellowship
Anja Shortland, Julia Amos and Sarah Percy
This year’s conference was on the theme of “governance” and explored both state and non-state responses to insecurity, risks and opportunities in the maritime domain. It saw the return of leading international academics and policy officials who have been engaged since the first such event and the expanded interest both in terms of numbers and their background. It was a timely examination in light of developments in the Indian Ocean which have seen UN activity extend from piracy to other maritime crime, and stresses on national governance leading to significant insecurity in the maritime zones of West Africa and SE Asia, and resultant international political, including G7, interest.
Formal institutions, laws, regulations and enforcement usually arise when it is perceived to be in a state’s national interest to provide them or contribute to a collective effort. Informal and extra-legal institutions are private sector solutions to the absence of law and order or the lack of state enforcement of rules and norms.