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 Maritime Security

Assignment Title: Course Work 2

Risk Analysis Report

Roles and Responsibilities of Maritime Agencies

A report given by the International Maritime Bureau in 2012 indicates that 297 ship attacks were reported. However, this was a decline from 439 attacks that were reported in 2011. Of these, 75 attacks occurred in the Gulf of Aden covering Somalia’s territorial waters. The Gulf of Aden has been grossly affected in the past five years because pirates in Somalia are known to use rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons in hijacking vessels. This has ensured a successful attack even 400m off the coast of Somalia. The record in the Gulf of Aden was set straight in 2012 when Somali pirates held 104 hostages on different ships and 23 were detained on land. This has called for intensive measures on ship security worldwide particularly in the Gulf of Aden.

There are several maritime security agencies worldwide. Many of them are based on the territorial waters and boundaries of their individual governments. They are tasked with enforcing and asserting the sovereignty and national jurisdiction in their maritime zones meant to regulate and also protect the interests of their governments. However, the area of jurisdiction has often proved limited and lack of cooperation between two neighboring governments has given the pirates an upper hand.

Many governments task their maritime security agencies with the local homeland ship security, enforcement of the national and international maritime law, protection of the marine environment as well as maintenance of the offshore and intra-coastal requirements of safe navigation of all water vessels. According to Trelawny C. (201s), they guard against any threat within the maritime zones. However, contradicting and legislation that does not address modern inventions in piracy attacks leaves many countries’ coastlines vulnerable.

On the global arena, the International Maritime Bureau and the International Maritime Organisation have taken the forefront in ensuring that there is security and safety of the ships on board in the whole world and particularly at the Gulf of Aden where several incidents of crime have been reported. They have several departments aimed at ensuring security at the sea. They have a team of personnel who are in constant research of various through which they can improve on the current safety and security measures.

They are in charge of amendments to maritime regulations which ensure protection against fire and other security issues on passenger ships. They also train the ship crew on safety and emergency handling situations, certification and watch-keeping. They develop and seeing to it the implementation of ship and port facility security code that ensures defense against terrorism, smuggling, stowaways and piracy among other common crimes. They also publish the International Code of Signals that is used between naval and merchant vessels.

International maritime bodies have several subcommittees that oversee safety of the whole process of navigation, control radio communications, search sea vessels and rescue them in case of any danger. Other subcommittees constantly review and implement training and watch keeping standards as well as those that do ship design and give prescriptions of the equipment used on board. They ensure that sea vessels are safe and protected against fire; especially oil tankers. Extra care is taken against bulk gases and liquids as well as those vessels that carry dangerous goods, containers and solid cargoes.

Maritime security agencies are actively marking areas where many ships are highly vulnerable to an attack especially in the Gulf of Aden (Silvia Ciotti Galletti, 2011). Enhanced vigilance and watch keeping policies have been improved by provision of additional lookouts particularly for every watch. More binoculars have been provided and the use of high-powered night vision optics implemented. Shorter rotations of the watch period have been implemented in order to improve alertness of the watchers. Armed pirates are on the increase particularly on the worldwide arena and efforts to improve this situation have been carried out by training everybody on board especially on preventing tactics.


Communication and Security of Sea Vessels

The international Maritime Organisation is actively committed to improving the communication phrases used on the sea. These include those used to describe an abandoned and unmanned ship aboard, a ship that has been stuck in ice, damaged by ice or one that is sinking.

International maritime bodies are consistently committed to the security and safety of ship on board. In line with that, the International Maritime Organisation has developed several requirements. For ships, there are comprehensive security plans, company security officers, ship security officers and certain onboard equipment. With respect to port facilities have been developed comprehensive port facility security plans, security of certain equipment and training port facility security officers. They also monitor and control access to ships on board and at the port, monitor the activities of all the people on board and the cargo as also ensure that security communications are actually available.

The United Nations, European Union and NATO among other organisations have created several antipiracy patrol areas where ships can safely sail through (Christopher L. Daniels, 2012). Such a safe transit has solved this problem in some areas. They have also increased the safe-zones where ships can easily sail through to safety. However, in case the vice can’t be effectively controlled one of the solutions would be to further expand these units even to cover the whole sea if it’s possible. More antipiracy patrols can be implemented at irregular and unpredictable intervals.

Many maritime security agencies are now offering rewards to individuals who volunteer to provide useful information about ship piracy. This will prove helpful especially to the European Union that has raised concerns over attacks over attack of its member countries’ ships that have to pass through the Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden. Intelligence among many African ports has been increased but it needs to be technologized further in order to increase effectiveness of the men carrying out the operation at the sea. The increased patrols have made the activities of sea pirates a very expensive mission thus unattractive.

According to Kwa Chong, John K. Skogan (2007), lack of cooperation among some countries in prosecuting reported sea pirates has also contributed to massive insecurity of these ships while on board. And in response to this, the International Maritime Bureau is actively engaging in dialogue to help unite all countries and seek help from individual governments in fighting piracy. A five-pronged approach that has been developed to help fight against piracy in the recent past includes judicial convictions, financial flows, discouraging ransoms, best practices particularly for maritime transport and beefing up of the regional capacity for justice, maritime patrols and prisons. New techniques of tracking funds that flow to the hands of sea pirates have also been developed.

International maritime bodies are working with other maritime safety agencies such as The Association “Veterans of Special Troops” Russia that provide armed guards who escort ships and other sea vessels particularly through the vulnerable Gulf of Aden. This agency escorts both bulk and merchant vessels that are onboard the vessel at any point in the sea before disembarking from the shop at the point of destination. They start escorting petroleum tankers at any point of a route on the sea. An increased cooperation with these agencies and regulation the regulation thereof will ensure that the international maritime security code is achieved.


Further Recommendations on Ship Safety and Security

In order to take maritime safety to another level, all maritime agencies need to unite and forget about their territorial waters because every dog has its day (Anna Petrig, Robin Geiss, 2011). In order to improve the current level of insecurity and high-point piracy at the Gulf of Aden and particularly along the coastline of Somalia, all maritime agencies, governments and other authorities charged with sea safety need to increase the overall number of escort corridors and naval patrols on sea. They also need to create an office that coordinates all the military forces that have been deployed by respective governments and organisations to watch against piracy.

Active measures to increase economic cooperation and interdependence especially in Somalia and other countries where piracy is a major problem should be taken. For instance, alternative economic measures that make piracy unattractive can be developed. International courts that prosecute arrested pirates should be developed and given mandate. It has also been noted that nonmilitary ships are the most vulnerable. To combat this vice, standard defenses for these ships can be developed.

Concerns over reviews that will help the governments to achieve have also been raised. These include redefinition of the term “piracy” in order to clear any ambiguities that have led to very different approaches in the treatment of and response to piracy by different governments. International regulations should also be extended so that they can cover current issues that have not been covered by the existing rules. Cooperative mechanisms of securing enforcement of the regulations and supplementing of these efforts at the coastal regions should also be developed.



Anna Petrig, Robin Geiss, 2011, Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: The Legal Framework, 1st edn, pp.87-89 Oxford University Press, New York, USA

Chalk, C, Smallman, L, Burger, N 2009, Countering Piracy in the Modern Era: Notes from a RAND Workshop to Discuss the Best Approaches for Dealing with Piracy in the 21st Century, RAND Corporation, CA, USAV, Netherlands

Christopher L. Daniels, 2012, Somali Piracy and Terrorism in the Horn of Africa: Myths, Misconceptions and Remedies, pp.226, Scarecrow Press, Inc., Maryland, USA

Kwa Chong, John K. Skogan, 2007, Maritime Security in Southeast Asia, 1st edn, Routledge, New York, USA

Silvia Ciotti Galletti, 2011, Piracy and Maritime Terrorism: Logistics, Strategies, Scenarios, pp.150, IOS Press B James Kraska, Contemporary Maritime Piracy: International Law, Diplomacy and Strategy at Sea, 1st edn, Praeger Publishers Inc., USA

Trelawny C. (2013), Maritime Security Beyond Military Operations, The RUSI Journal, Issue 1, pp.48-52

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