Friday, April 17, 2009

Navigators Locker - Research Links

Weather Charts and Stuff

Time, Location &Nautical Calculators

Ship Tracking and Identification


Naval Leadership, Strategy and Intelligence
Naval Leadership: Voices of Experience

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crime and Interdiction in the Littoral

Maritime crime can be sub-categorised, to includes theft of goods from ships at anchor or in port, to smuggling of contraband, human trafficking or violent crimes such as piracy or terrorism. All of these today fall short of actual war, at least in their legal sense. Early European lawyers, such as Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), interpreting law in the 17th century had to consider legal arguments about maritime policing actions of the era, some of which would today be regarded as state-sanctioned piracy and terrorism.i Whether the English fleet against Dutch trading vessels off Greenland, or Dutch men-o-war taking action against Portuguese and Spanish ships in Southeast Asia.
Maritime security has been linked to the naval affairs of state, and is still regarded as a means to safeguard strategic national interests of states at sea, including commercial shipping, border protection, pollution control and resource protection.

‘Risk’ is an aspect of maritime security and safety in the practical world of maritime security, as it is in maritime trade. Stakeholders include states, commercial shipping companies, and insurance firms, who all determine the level of threat attached to each operation. The general objective of policing is to reduce the weight of threat to citizens and their property while increasing the level of risk to those who would commit crime. Whether this pendulum of risk swings in favour of victim or perpetrator depends on the facilitation of policing authorities to enforce laws, the extent to which there is provision of punishment as a deterrent, and the efficacy of a judicial system to legally support both of these.

Attacks on the
USS Cole off Yemen, another against the MV Limburg (2002), and several Philippine ferry bombings, all indicate that international maritime law, codes and conventions are only as good as their application in practice. During this decade, there have been constant assaults on oil facilities in the Persian Gulf, ongoing LTTE clashes with the Sri Lankan Navy, and raids by thieves against ships off the coast of Nigeria, and piracy in Southeast Asian waters. The first test-case of official naval action by one nation specifically targeting pirates in modern times took place off the coast of Somalia. Following many incidents against shipping, on 21st January 2006 a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer was authorized to take action against pirates near Somalia, resulting in several arrests and a trial in Kenya. Ten culprits were convicted as pirates, and all were sentenced to seven years in prison.ii

Maritime piracy has been a topic of discussion for several centuries and has become a popular subject in recent years in part due to film media such as the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Hollywood movie series which portray a romantic and mischievous endeavours. In these, armed attack is portrayed as less noble, more callous, and completely devoid of the romance of Hollywood’s depictions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Maritime Security in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean

Since the end of the cold war, maritime security has become a regional issue. An aspect of maritime security, neglected by academic study is maritime law enforcement and interdiction. This research will examine the current maritime security organisations, institutions and agreements that exist, or are in the process of formation in both the Southeast Asian and Caribbean regions. Maritime Security in this instance refers to Policing and Interdiction on the high seas and territorial waters.

Violent crimes at sea include armed attack, robbery, piracy and smuggling of illicit drugs. Whereas armed attack and piracy directly affect those people who make their living at sea, smuggling introduces a black-market aspect, and tends to raise the level of crime within a specific region.

Currently, the ‘war on terror’ has meant that security at sea and in port is undergoing renewed examination by authorities. Increasingly piracy, violence, illegal drugs, as well as arms and people smuggling have given a higher profile to regional maritime security, since coastal states are increasingly willing to take responsibility for policing seas within their immediate areas, rather than relying on major foreign powers. Yet continuing political pressure from foreign powers suggests that perspective of each actor continues to determine national priorities.

The purpose of this comparative study is to determine whether Southeast Asia is in the process of establishing a maritime security management regime that might address violence and crime occurring within regional maritime areas, that satisfies the political imperatives of all actors.

This research will attempt to observe:

  • Whether practical and long-term strategic management of regional maritime security possible in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean Sea;
  • The perceptions that prevail within each region regarding maritime policing;
  • The level of current inter-operability and cooperation between states, regarding maritime policing, a sustainable and resilient occurrence;
  • How the agencies and institutions of cooperation within Southeast Asia and the Caribbean Sea are developing processes of integration and coordination of maritime policing and interdiction;
  • The relationship between requirements for international support to maritime states and their incorporation (or otherwise) into regional maritime security initiatives.

For Southeast Asia and the Caribbean Sea, maritime security has required that coastal states collaborate and coordinate military and police forces but there are limits to cooperation. A major hurdle is the question of sovereignty rights within territorial waters. Allowing foreign patrol craft to pursue suspects into another state’s territorial waters has been a major hurdle to be overcome if true cooperation is to develop. Both Southeast Asian and Caribbean Sea state governments are subject to global influences which threaten state sovereignty. Therefore cooperation on security has been cautious.

Sensitive to the security priorities of all parties, this research will include only unclassified information to be used to develop a doctoral thesis, which will be submitted in late 2008 for assessment. Various people, including academics, coast guard representatives, government policy makers, shipping company representatives, marine underwriters and other interested stakeholders are being invited to participate in this research. The results of this research will be available, and should prove useful to coastal state policy makers and those involved in the practice of providing maritime security in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean Sea, when considering options for managing the security of legitimate maritime users.

Timothy A. Martin
PhD Candidate
School of International and Political Studies
Faculty of Arts
Deakin University
Waurn Ponds
Victoria, Australia