This may be linked to increased trafficking in narcotics from Latin America, illegal fishing, or human trafficking, but is in any event a reminder that piracy remains a persistent and widespread challenge to maritime security. However, recent activity in Somalia and Yemen may foreshadow a resurgence of piracy in the region, bolstered by advanced small arms and light weapons, access to ship monitoring and tracking devices, and use of unmanned systems and long range communications.
The LOSC alone cannot sufficiently address the prosecution of pirates once captured. The IMO has urged all coastal states to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and combat piracy…through regional co-operation, and to investigate incidents of piracy in order to prosecute perpetrators in accordance with international law.
First, domestic or state courts should be empowered to prosecute pirates. Second, international or regional courts should supplement domestic courts with investigation and prosecution through specialized piracy courts. Slavery and human trafficking are two other long-standing challenges to maritime security. Under the law, people being trafficked at sea fall into one of two types of human cargo depending on the intent and type of activity they are engaged in: migrants asylum seekers or those attempting to bypass immigration laws and victims of trafficking kidnapped individuals or those coerced or exploited.
Article 99 of the Convention addresses the slave trade and grants freedom to all slaves on the high seas, but makes no distinction between those being trafficked and those being smuggled; therefore, in the maritime domain a legal reference to slavery connotes both trafficking and smuggling.
While these distinctions are important, the issues of territoriality and jurisdiction that they present hamper response and risk human life. The Syrian civil war has resulted in the movement of four million externally displaced people, with approximately one million of those seeking asylum in Europe. The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis notes that the challenge of human trafficking lies both in the volume of displaced people and the incapacity of authorities to deal with the problem.
Unlike the drug trade, weapons trafficking is more consolidated and varied. It also brings in significantly less revenue for traffickers than a shipment of cocaine. The abundance of high-capacity freighters, containerization, and a black market for fissile material gave rise to a new regime of international law that addressed gaps in maritime security.
The Proliferation Security Initiative and attendant Container Security Initiative parallels the Convention with the main purpose of interdicting precursor materials, weapons, and delivery systems at any given point in the transportation system. The maritime industry has invested heavily in maritime security measures.
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Most of this technology focused on detecting WMD and precursor materials. The advent of new technologies employable in the maritime domain, including those focused on detecting WMD and precursor materials, has already created capacity for persistent, reliable intelligence and information.
Coupled with existing information sharing systems, like the Automatic Identification System AIS , the Maritime Safety and Security Information System, and Shipboard AIS and Radar Contact Reporting SARC-R , use of underwater autonomous vehicles, seabed sensors, and swarming micro-drones may give maritime law enforcement more capacity to gather, interpret, and share information relating to illicit activity in the maritime domain. The Convention specifically identifies only certain types of transnational crime that affect maritime security, but there are many varieties and combinations of criminal activity that affect security and safety from the high seas to internal waters.
Domestic laws must be symbiotic with international law, and cooperative partnerships between States, law enforcement, and militaries to combat illicit activity must transcend the morass of politics that often plague more restrictive legal regimes. Information and intelligence sharing, novel TTPs tactics, techniques, and procedures , and unconventional employment of existing technologies may assist navies and coast guards in ensuring freedom of the seas.
In closing, the Convention provides a strong framework and multilateral efforts to deter and defeat criminal activity in all maritime zones will result in a more secure, safer operating environment for all. However, the recurrent difficulty in successfully prosecuting and punishing wrongdoers, whether engaged in piracy or human trafficking, is a reminder that much remains to be done.
Maritime Security and the Convention on the Law of the Sea 1 Background The LOSC is the foremost international legal instrument for realizing collaborative approaches to maritime security. Maritime Security Roles of the Navy and Coast Guard Under the Convention Military forces operating in international waters fall under multiple legal regimes. Varieties of Transnational Crime in the Maritime Domain Maritime trafficking routes closely follow commercial shipping lanes, and the modalities and technologies employed by criminals are often more advanced than those used in legal trade.
Narcotics Trafficking Article requires member States to cooperate and empowers them to offer assistance in the suppression of drug trafficking, specifically addressing other-state flagged vessels. Coast Guard conducts periodic inspections for every cruise ship sailing from our ports.
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These inspections focus on crew training, fire safety, proper functioning of all safety systems and lifesaving equipment. Modern cruise ships are required to have state-of-the-art electronic navigational instruments, and most ships substantially exceed these regulatory requirements. Ships are also required to have lifeboats, life rafts and life preservers for every person on board as well as additional capacity.
Safety drills in multiple languages are held prior to departure from port. Doctors on board international ships are trained and licensed with at least three years of clinical experience, including minor surgery and emergency care. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
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- Chapter 6: Maritime Security, Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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