G7 high level meeting discusses importance of capacity building

The third G7 High Level Meeting on Maritime Security was held in Rome last month as a follow up to the G7 Ministers of Foreign Affairs Joint Communiqué signed at Lucca in Italy in April. The core aim of the meeting was to identify common challenges in the maritime domain and how to coordinate comprehensive responses to maritime insecurity at an international and regional level.

The meeting highlighted the importance of technology transfer and capacity building, particularly relating to Maritime Domain Awareness,  for states “currently unable to effectively participate in the global endeavour to reinforce maritime security”. It also identified challenges, such as implementing regional coordination frameworks and translating maritime security strategies into concerted actions.

Four roundtables examined both traditional and newer threats to maritime security. These were (i) Countering illegal activities at sea, which highlighted the crucial importance of guaranteeing freedom of navigation, promoting connectivity among regions and cooperating on capacity building, (ii) Improving safety and security of maritime environment through research and development of best standard and practices, (iii) Enhancing Awareness in the Maritime Domain, and (iv) Safeguarding the marine environment as a prerequisite for maritime security.

SAFE SEAS forthcoming ‘Best Practice Report’ will contribute to these high level discussions on how maritime security can be better coordinated and planned by consolidating the experience in the western Indian Ocean region and using it to help organise maritime security more efficiently and devise ways by which it can be effectively supported.

SafeSeas organises workshop on illegal fishing in Seychelles

As part of its ongoing collaboration with the University of Seychelles, SAFESEAS is organising a symposium on illegal fishery in Seychelles waters and the wider Western Indian Ocean region. Titled “Stopping Illegal Fishing: Protecting the ‘Blue Gold’ of the Seychelles” the objective of the event on the 6th of December is to raise awareness for the problem and to offer a platform for the policy dialogue on how to improve a national and regional multi-agency response. Given the Seychelles’ status as a regional and global leader in ocean governance it is important that the country continues to be pro-active in this important security and development matter.

Speakers at the event represent the Seychelles Blue Economy department, the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Seychelles Fishing Boat Owner Association,  the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission as well Fish-I Africa. Prof. Christian Bueger, PI of SAFESEAS will offer introductory remarks and chair one of the two panels.

Performing piracy: a note on the multiplicity of agency

SAFE SEAS Principal Investigator Professor Christian Bueger has recently published an article in the Journal of International Relations and Development on ‘pirate agency’ as a primer for the study of the multiplicity of agency and its production with pirates representing a paradigmatic case of international agency.

The article offers a renewed understanding of agency and how its multiplicity can be empirically reconstructed. We frequently speak of states or international organisations as actors, without actually having understood what kind of agency these forms imply and what they depend upon. What are the resources and relations that are required to produce distinct types of agency?

Starting with a note on theoretical suppositions and a brief outline of the relationalist concept of agency as product of ‘agencements’, the article then engages in an empirical study of pirate agency that outlines six different forms, while the conclusion discusses some of the consequences this reconstruction for IR theory more broadly.

An enduring threat – suspected Somali pirates transferred to Seychelles

This week six suspected Somali pirates were transferred by EUNAVFOR officials to the Seychelles to stand trial – the first such transfer of piracy suspects to the country since 2014. The suspects were apprehended by an Italian navy frigate, ITS Virginio Fasan, after they attacked a Seychelles-flagged 52,000-tonne container ship and a fishing vessel in the Southern Somali Basin on 17 and 18 November.

The well organised but unsuccessful attack is a reminder that Somali pirates still possess the intent and capability to launch attacks against large merchant vessels. It is also a reminder of the importance of building sustainable security structures and capacity ashore in Somalia and the wider region as well as maintaining international counter-piracy naval forces and Best Management Practices.

As the research conducted by SAFE SEAS illustrates, maritime capacity building efforts need better coordination to achieve synergies, avoid duplication and ensure the sustainability of the assistance provided. A core output of the SAFE SEAS project will be a book that studies recent attempts of restructuring maritime security sectors in the Western Indian Ocean region. This resource will have particular relevance for practitioners on how maritime security can be organized and what lessons can be drawn on in the programming, design and implementation of maritime security capacity building.

Presentation at Indian Naval Symposium

SAFESEAS Principal Investigator, Prof. Christian Bueger, recently presented at a symposium of the Indian Navy hosted by the Indian Navy Naval War College in Goa. The two-day event focused on “Addressing Regional Maritime Challenges” and brought together over one hundred representatives from Indian and Indian Ocean navies.

The presentation explored Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and capacity building both from a historical and contemporary perspective. Zooming in on the Western Indian Ocean, it investigated the claim that MDA by virtue strengthens cooperation and argued that the competition between architectures points to a strong geo-political motive in building MDA, and to the rise of communities of practice.

It concluded that advancing shared MDA implies provision of  some order to the current complexity of architectures, to re-politicize these projects, to work towards more trust and confidence to enable sharing of information, as well as to avoid living in technological fantasies and rely on pragmatic low tech work instead.

SAFESEAS workshop at University of Stellenbosch

This week the SAFESEAS team were joined by our international research assistants and partners for a workshop hosted by the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) at the University of Stellenbosch’s Institute for Advanced Study.

The primary objective of the workshop was to discuss the initial results of the research conducted over the last months and which will lead to an edited volume. We discussed seven cases of maritime security governance in Western Indian Ocean: Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, Djibouti and Somalia in order to compare and contrast the governance in each state.

We also discussed the core lessons for maritime security governance and capacity building assistance that can be extracted from these cases. These lessons will inform the best practice tool kit “Reflexive Capacity Building” that will be launched in March 2018.


A new agenda for maritime security studies

SafeSeas Principal Investigator Prof. Christian Bueger and Co-PI Prof. Tim Edmunds have published an article in International Affairs.

The new article – entitled Beyond Seablindness: A New Agenda for Maritime Security Studies – argues that developments in the maritime arena have flown beneath the radar of much mainstream international relations and security studies scholarship, and that a new agenda for maritime security studies is required. In the article they outline the contours of such an agenda, with the intention of providing orientation and direction for future research.

Read the full article open access here.

How can we capture capacity building? New Concept Note published

Capacity building is a broad concept with no clear definition. It is also a buzzword of International Politics. At SafeSeas we are interested in the practice of capacity as a diverse activity that goes beyond immediate maritime security concerns and is part of the broader picture of maritime governance.

But, how can these practices be captured? A new concept note just published lays out the SafeSeas framework for gathering data on maritime security capacity building and capturing the experience of actors involved in capacity building. It is structured around a number of core questions and indications of data initially available for desk research.

New Concept Note on Kenya and maritime security published

Kenya’s waters provide significant domestic and international economic opportunities. These prospects are, however, undermined by a wide range of maritime security challenges. The nature of these security concerns, in particular the impact of Somali piracy, has resulted in maritime security becoming an emergent priority for the Kenyan government.

As a primer to the SAFE SEAS case study of the maritime security sector in Kenya, a new concept note has been published that explores how the maritime sector is organised, the maritime security problems facing Kenya as well as the existing legal, policy and institutional frameworks for tackling these problems.


Visiting government ministries in Kenya and Djibouti

SafeSeas Research Associate Dr. Robert McCabe is meeting with various Government ministries with responsibility for the maritime sector in Kenya and Djibouti this week. These high-level meetings are a chance to learn more about how the maritime sector is organised in both countries at policy level and explore different maritime security sector reform processes as well as the successes and failures of capacity building in the region.

In Kenya, Dr McCabe is meeting with the State Department for Fisheries and the Blue Economy (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries); the State Department for Maritime & Shipping Affairs (Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development) and the Chief Research Officer of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) amongst others. In Djibouti, consultations are ongoing with the Ministry of Equipment and Transport; Director of the Djibouti Regional Training Centre (DRTC); the Djibouti Coast Guard and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs as well as a representative from Djibouti Maritime Security Services Ltd (DMSS).

These consultations will inform the ongoing mapping of the both Djibouti and Kenya’s maritime security sector and provide an outline of the best practice tool kit for maritime security capacity building.