How to improve the delivery of capacity building? Insights from a coordination meeting

How can capacity building training for maritime security be better coordinated in West and Central Africa? This was the core question of a recent meeting – ‘Strategic Dialogue Workshop On West and Central Africa Maritime Security Training Capacity’ – held from 25 – 28 February 2020 in Accra, Ghana. The focus of the gathering was … Read more

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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Safeseas directors present at the Global Maritime Security Conference, Nigeria

Safeseas directors Timothy Edmunds and Christian Bueger attended the Global Maritime Security Conference in Abuja, Nigeria, on the 7th to 9th of October 2019. The high-level conference brought together 2300 delegates from 76 countries, and was organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Nigerian Navy. … Read more

Presentation at MAST Copenhagen

As part of the maritime conference held at MAST Northern Coasts, Prof. Bueger, gave a presentation drawing on SafeSeas research on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). He reflected on what is difficult in implementing MDA and why we don’t see the emergence of a Baltic regional MDA structure.

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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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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 work 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. 

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Discussion of Maritime Domain Awareness in Southeast Asia

One of the core areas work of the SafeSeas’ project TOCAS is Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Asking how MDA can become a fruitful tool for better law enforcement at sea, the disruption of transnational organised crime as well as increased cooperation, the SafeSeas team is developing a guide. On the 24th of January, SafeSeas Director … Read more