From coordination to command: making Thailand’s maritime security governance more efficient?

Safeseas Research Associate Scott Edwards recently had the opportunity to access insights from Thailand’s Maritime Enforcement Command Center (ThaiMECC). Previously the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre, the change of name is indicative of a new intended direction for the agency. ThaiMECC provides a new noteworthy example of Maritime Domain Awareness, which the Safeseas Best Practice Toolkit demonstrates is the engine room of maritime security governance.

When it was first established in 1997, ThaiMECC was intended to be a focal point for tackling Thailand’s maritime insecurities – particularly trafficking and illegal fishing. Bringing together the Royal Thai Navy, Fisheries Department, Marine Department, Customs Department, Maritime and Coastal Environment Department, and the Marine Police, the agency sought to make inter-agency coordination more effective through seminars, exercises and information-sharing.

190904-N-NI298-0067 GULF OF THAILAND (Sep. 04, 2019) U.S. Coast Guard Chief Maritime Enforcement Specialist John Daughters works with a Royal Thai Navy sailor during a joint visit, board, search and seizure training drill with the U.S. Navy aboard a training vessel as part of the first ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise (AUMX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristin Barth)

The backbone of ThaiMECC (in both its previous and current incarnation) is the Maritime Information Sharing Centre (MISC). MISC not only gathers and collates information from the different agencies’ information platforms, but also has a staff tasked with analysis, evaluation and dissemination in order to increase Maritime Domain Awareness.

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Growing, yet cautious, optimism – maritime security in the Philippines

Safeseas Research Associate Scott Edwards recently visited the Philippines and had the opportunity to assess some of the over-arching themes of Philippine maritime security focused upon by security practitioners.

The Philippines faces a large array of security issues, ranging from kidnappings that fund terrorist activities; piracy in an area in which over $40 billion dollars’ worth of cargo flows; trafficking of drugs, weapons and people; cigarette, alcohol and fuel smuggling; and illegal fishing which not only destroys marine habitats but also damages the economy of the Philippines.

At a policy level, however, the government and Navy mainly continues to focus on traditional areas of geopolitics – primarily concerned about China’s overlapping claims in the South of China Sea. This can divert attention from the need to address the wide array of transnational organised crimes at sea that take place in the waters of the Philippines.

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Workshop on Security Sector Reform in the Philippines

Safeseas research associate Scott Edwards was invited to attend the 7th Workshop on Security Sector Reform, focusing on Maritime Security Sector Reform and Governance. Organised by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the National Defense College of the Philippines, the event brought together maritime security practitioners from various institutions … Read more

International Affairs special issue on Maritime Security edited by Safeseas Directors

Safeseas are pleased to announce that co-directors Christian Bueger and Timothy Edmunds, alongside Barry J. Ryan, have edited a special volume of International Affairs centred around maritime security.

The special issues builds upon on their previous article ‘Beyond seablindness: a new agenda for maritime security studies’ that argued 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 was required. In the introduction of the special issue, ‘Maritime security: the uncharted politics of the global sea’, they reiterate their call for more scholarly attention to be paid to the maritime environment in international relations and security studies. They further argue that the contemporary maritime security agenda should be understood as an interlinked set of challenges of growing global, regional and national significance, and comprising issues of national, environmental, economic and human security. The five contributions in the special issue set out to advance this understanding, with two having a more traditional perspective, while three analyse non-traditional areas.             

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