SafeSeas is a network of research organizations that studies maritime security. The research focus is on manifestations of blue crimes, maritime security governance, naval operations and capacity building. Participants study different countries, and regions, but also the global level. The goal of the network is 1) to produce state of the art, high quality analyses of processes related to maritime security; 2) to bring maritime security issues to the attention of a broader global and local public, and 3) to provide evidence to improve current processes, and 4) to identify and share best and promising practices across countries and regions.

Our current larger research projects are focused on maritime security in West Africa, the Western Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific region and the waters of the United Kingdom. The focus is on different expressions of blue crime, as well as maritime security governance, inter-agency coordination, maritime domain awareness, maritime security strategy, policing strategies, and capacity building initiatives. 

Funding and Partners

SafeSeas is a registered voluntary commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 (OceanAction14234). It has received funding from a number of academic councils and foundations.

Its ‘Transnational Organised Crime at Sea (TOCAS)’ project is funded through a grant by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as part of the  Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS).

The Analysing Maritime Insecurities in Ghana (AMARIS) is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre of the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA). It runs from 2020-2023. 

From 2016 to 2018 SafeSeas received financial support from the British Academy Sustainable Development Programme [GF16007]  which is part of the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund initiative to strengthen development through research.

SAFESEAS also received financial support for its activities from Cardiff University, Danish Shipping, University of Copenhagen, University of Bristol, University of Seychelles, University of Sydney, the UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme, and the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA), University of Stellenbosch.

Partner Institutions & Universities

  • Center for Global Criminology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Center for Global Insecurities, University of Bristol, UK
  • Center for Maritime Security and Law (CEMLAWS), Ghana
  • Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Global Maritime Crime Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  • Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Pretoria Office, South Africa
  • Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), Ghana
  • Law School, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Mancham Institute for Peace and Diplomacy, University of Seychelles, Seychelles
  • Maritime Security Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technical University, Singapore
  • Maritime Security Research Group, UNSW Canberra, Australia
  • National Center for Maritime Policy Research, Bahria University
  • Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA), University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • The School of Government, Development and International Affairs, University of the South Pacific, Fiji

SafeSeas Staff

SAFE SEAS has currently two directors and two full time staff members based at the University of Bristol and the University of Copenhagen.

// Professor Christian Bueger, University of Copenhagen

Prof. Bueger is a professor of international relations at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the directors of SafeSeas and the project lead of AMARIS. He has been studying issues of maritime security, counter-piracy operations, capacity building and maritime domain awareness since 2010.  During his time at Cardiff University (2012-2018), he was the principal investigator of the project Counter-piracy Governance and the principal investigator of the Lessons Learned Consortium of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. He has worked as consultant for the UNODC Maritime Crime Programme or the Indian Ocean Commission. Further information is available on his personal website.

// Professor Tim Edmunds, University of Bristol

Prof. Edmunds is professor of international security, Principal investigator of the TOCAS project and the co-director of the network. He is a leading specialist in security sector reform policies and the politics of armed forces. He has been in particular studying the security assistance in Somalia, as well as maritime security sector reform processes in the Western Indian Ocean, and more recently the consequences of Brexit for the UK’s maritime security. Further information is available at his university website.

// Dr. Scott Edwards, University of Bristol

Dr. Edwards is a research associate at the University of Bristol for the TOCAS project. Scott completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2019, where he analysed the role of trust in security communities under Nicholas Wheeler. He holds an MA from the University of Birmingham in Asia-Pacific International Relations, and has primarily focused on Southeast Asian security issues. He is the lead author of the SafeSeas evidence base and specialists in issues of coordination and inter-agency management.

// Dr. Humphrey Asamoah, University of Copenhagen

Dr. Asamoah is a research associate at the University of Copenhagen and the project manager of the AMARIS project. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of From Bullies to Officers and Gentlemen: How Notions of Professionalism and Civility Transformed the Ghana Armed Forces, Berghan Books.

Affiliate Members

Dr Barry Ryan
// Dr. Barry Ryan, Keele University, UK

Barry Ryan is a senior lecturer in International Relations at Keele University. For the past number of years his research has gradually evolved from its initial empirical focus on policing and liberal internationalism towards a more critical stance on the relationship between police, war and global security. His current research is concerned with spatial strategies of security and the maritime environment and the implications for IR theory of a critical turn towards the politics of sea. A full bio can be found here.

Former Project Staff

Over the years several researchers have contributed to the work of the SafeSeas network.

// Mowlid Aden, Djibouti

Mr. Aden holds a BSc in Information Systems and Management from the University of London with Executive Education at The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), Herzylia-Israel and ENA in Paris. He is currently a Director of Security Compliance and Managing Director of the RSO at Djibouti Ports & Free Zone Authority. He was one of the research assistant analysing the lessons from Djiouti’s maritime sector.

// Dr. Rupert Alcock, Bristol University, UK

Dr. Alcock works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for SAFESEAS based at the University of Bristol. He completed his PhD in Politics at the University of Bristol in March 2017 and holds an MSc in Development & Security Studies and Social Science Research Methods. Further information is available here.

// Alvine Marie, Seychelles

Mr. Marie completed a Master of Laws degree at Cardiff University in 2016. His wider research interests include the Legal & Political aspects of International Affairs as well as Money Laundering & Financial crime. Currently, he is working as legal officer at the Seychelles Financial Services Authority. He was one of the research assistant analysing the lessons from Seychelles maritime sector (2017-2019).

// Njoki Mboce, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Ms. Mboke is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Nairobi School of Law, in the area of maritime law. She holds a Master of Laws (LL.M), specializing in international trade and investments and has published several articles in refereed journals such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – Kenya  Chapter Journal. Ms. Mboke was one of the research assistant analysing the lessons from Kenya’s maritime sector.

// Dr. Robert McCabe, Coventry University, UK

Dr. McCabe is a Research Fellow in Maritime Security at Coventry University. Previously he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Cardiff University and was the research assistant of the initial phase of SafeSeas. He holds a PhD in Strategic Studies/International Security and an MA in Military History and Strategic Studies. He is the author of Modern Maritime Piracy: Genesis, Evolution and Responses published with Routledge, 2017.  


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