New article summarises insights from Best Practice Toolkit

What are the challenges in governing maritime security? How can the capacity gap closed through capacity building projects? What guidelines can make such work more effective? These are the questions that the SafeSeas Network explored over the last years, culminating in the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit titled “Mastering Maritime Security”.

In a new short article published in the Seychelles Research Journal, Christian Bueger summarises the core insights from the Best Practice Toolkit. The short text revisits some of the findings and recommendations from the toolkit in a short easy ready manner. The article is available as open access.

Maritime Security Ideaslab in Copenhagen

As part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen, SafeSeas co-hosted with the Center for Global Criminology an ideaslab on maritime security on the 27th of June 2019. Titled “Insecurity, Crime and Cooperation at Sea”: New Perspectives on Maritime Security” the goal of the day was to explore different ideas from international relations, security studies, and anthropology of how our thinking changes if we initiate inquiry from the sea and not the land. The day provided an opportunity to exchange views on why and how the maritime is a site and a view point from which to explore the social and political differently.

In the background was the observation that the majority of social science disciplines have focused on the land and rather ignored the sea. What has been called “sea blindness”, however, is gradually changing. Increasingly the sea is not taken as an empty void, but understood as a rich space filled with meaning, actions and life. Emerging research challenges the land/sea dichotomy and is interested in connectivity, flows and chokepoints, piracy and other forms of maritime crime, or ports and maritime infrastructures. The six presentations of the day picked up these themes respectively.

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Welcoming our new research associate

SafeSeas is pleased to welcome our new postdoctoral research associate, Scott Edwards. Scott will be joining SafeSeas on our ongoing Transnational Organised Crime At Sea (TOCAS) project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and will be based at the University of Bristol. His primary role be will in assisting in the development of the upcoming evidence base that aims to improve our understanding of maritime crime and international responses to it, as well as assist in the mapping of regional maritime security governance systems.

Scott is in the final stages of his PhD from the University of Birmingham, where he analysed the role of trust in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations security community. In particular, he focused on the mediating impact of trust on the crises that occurred between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, with an emphasis on maritime competition and parallel maritime cooperation. In his work Scott has primarily focused on Southeast Asian security issues, both traditional and non-traditional, which has led to various articles and book chapters. He has also produced work for Transparency International in the areas of Southeast Asian defence and security, and for the International Committee of the Red Cross on trust and diplomacy.

Scott recently attended various events with SafeSeas, including the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) friends of the chair strategy review, Counter-Terrorism Lessons from Maritime Piracy and Narcotics Interdiction at the Royal Danish Defence College, and the SafeSeas co-organised Roundtable on Maritime Crime. Summaries of discussions from these events can be found on our twitter (@Safeseas1).

Scott can be contacted at SAE195@bham.ac.uk, or found on twitter @scottedvvards

Maritime Security Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Recent events in the region

From 13th to 16th of May a series of maritime security related events took place in Singapore which SafeSeas director Prof. Bueger attended. The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) – the regional Maritime Domain Awareness center operated by the Singaporean navy – celebrated its 10th anniversary, it also launched a new information sharing platform and held the annual exercise MARISX. For a summary of these events, see Prof. Bueger blogpost. He also attended the IMDEX Asia exhibition and the 20 warships on display. He also participated in the International Maritime Security Conference held in conjunction with the exhibition.

Roundtable on Maritime Crime in Copenhagen

On Monday, the 27th of May, 2019 SafeSeas is organising a public roundtable titled “Uncovering Hidden Maritime Crimes – Consequences for the Shipping Industry”. The event is jointly organised by Danish Shipping, the University of Copenhagen and SafeSeas.

While it is maritime piracy that catches most of the attention, there is less awareness of the detrimental impact of other crimes in the maritime domain. The roundtable focuses on these hidden maritime crimes and what kind of consequences and costs they imply for the shipping industry. Focusing on stowaways, human trafficking and the smuggling of illicit goods and narcotics, the goal of the event is to situate these crimes in a broader context and discuss how they can be tackled and addressed.

Panelists include Mr. Alan Cole, Head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Global Maritime Crime Programme, discussing smuggling, Dr. Eugenio Cusumano, Assistant Professor, Leiden University, discussing illegal migration in the Mediterranean, Dr. Amaha Senu, Research Associate, Seafarers International Research Centre, discussing stowaways and Dr. Ursula Daxecker, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam, discussing the nexus between different forms of maritime crime and their root causes.

Registration is through this link

SafeSeas participates in Djibouti Code of Conduct high level meeting in Jeddah

The Djibouti Code of Conduct remains one of the major agreements in the Western Indian Ocean to strengthen regional cooperation in maritime security bringing countries from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula together. Initially only focused on piracy, the Code’s focus area was extended through the 2017 Jeddah Amendments to cover all types of maritime crimes. From the 23rd to 25th of April 2019 representatives from the Signatory States and the Friends of the Djibouti Code of Conduct met in Saudi Arabia to review the current progress and discuss priorities in implementation. SafeSeas Director Prof. Christian Bueger participated in the event. He chaired a panel on the nature of maritime crimes, and gave two short presentations.

SafeSeas Job Call

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

SafeSeas is advertising for a 2-year postdoctoral Research Assistant position to work on the topic of Transnational Organised Crime at Sea at the University of Bristol, UK.

The successful candidate will work with the SafeSeas team as part of a research project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. You can find out more about this role and apply here.

The closing date for applications is 7 April 2019. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with tim.edmunds@bristol.ac.uk or christian.bueger@ifs.ku.uk or if you have any questions.

Maritime Security course for master students kicks off in Copenhagen

To improve education in the field of maritime security and increase general awareness for the sea, the SafeSeas team is working on a curriculum for teaching the subject. For the first time, a course at master level is to commence this week as part of the programme of the Department of Political Science of the University of Copenhagen. Over 14 weeks, students will learn about the issues, concepts, and actors of maritime security after which they are tasked to write and/or edit a Wikipedia entry on maritime security.

Participation in International Maritime Conference in Karachi

As part of its biennial multi-national naval exercise Aman, the Pakistani government is organizing an International Maritime Conference. This years iteration had the theme “Global Geopolitics in Transition: Rethinking Maritime Dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region”. As part of the conference SafeSeas director Prof. Bueger gave a keynote address arguing that Pakistan needs to peer towards the Western Indian Ocean, rather then rely on a broader regional construct. Drawing on the current work of Safeseas on a regional guide, Prof. Bueger asked what the right security architecture for the Western Indian Ocean is. Further information on the conference is available hereA copy the my talk is available here.  

SafeSeas visits NMIC

In January 2019, SafeSeas’ director Prof. Tim Edmunds, visited the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC) in Portsdown, UK. NMIC, is one of the most interesting international role models of how to organise Maritime Domain Awareness on a national level. Understanding how its worked might be replicated in other regions of the world, is one important part of the answer of how to fight maritime crime.

While hosted by the Royal Navy, NMIC has an interesting governance structure and is not ‘owned’ by any one individual ministry or department. It is a collective resource, shared and funded by a range of government bodies and agencies with interests in the sea.  Continue Reading