SafeSeas director Tim Edmunds addresses Maritime Security Symposium in Abu Dhabi

Professor Edmunds (second left) joins the concluding roundtable on future steps.

SafeSeas director professor Tim Edmunds delivered an address to a symposium on “Efforts and Initiatives by Third Parties to Secure Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa: Assessment of Roles and Interests”, organised by TRENDS in Abu Dhabi on 22 November 2022.

A recording of the full symposium is available on YouTube here: Professor Edmunds’ remarks can be found at 1:45:44.

Synopsis: Beyond piracy? Maritime security threats and responses off the Horn of Africa 

Maritime security is of critical importance to the Horn of Africa and wider Western Indian Ocean. Safe seas are critical to international shipping and trade, but also unpin prospects for blue economic growth in regional states. While piracy off the coast of Somalia has been largely contained, multiple maritime threats and insecurities remain. 

In this presentation Professor Edmunds assess lessons learned from the international and regional response to piracy, the evolving maritime security landscape in the region and emerging issues. I argue that international and public-private sector cooperation was key to the success of counterpiracy operations and highlight a series of best practices that derive from this experience.

However, he also points to the durability of maritime criminal networks and suggests that the rise of other forms of blue crime, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and smuggling of various types, spill over effects from conflicts, and geopolitical frictions present new challenges for the region. Addressing these issues will require new efforts from international and regional stakeholders, including capacity building and work to address the root causes of maritime insecurity on land.