The Security of the Maritime Transportation System
Despite robust development in air and land transport, the movement of goods by sea remains integral to sustaining global economic growth. With approximately 10% of the world’s produce moving in and out of countries by maritime transportation, securing the routes and ensuring freedom of navigation will always be vital to the global business environment, peace, and security. While the concern for security has been steadily rising, the threat of transnational crimes remains ever-present.
Threats to the Security of Sea Lanes
According to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, piracy, armed robbery, kidnap for ransom, smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, and migrant smuggling are just some of the most alarming criminal activities committed in the vast waters of the high seas and of every ocean in the world (UN Security Council Focuses its Attention on Maritime Crime, 2019). Depending on circumstances and underlying motives, some of these can even be considered as acts of terrorism.
Economic and Social Cost of Maritime Crimes
The Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast, has seen some of the most daring piracy and kidnapping activities, with ships and crew members were taken into custody for months and beyond. Aside from the billions of dollars spent to recover ships and to secure their crew members’ safety, the damage inflicted on the global supply chain and the particular economy that depends on it is one that is difficult to ascertain. Manufacturers, suppliers, freight forwarding companies, and buyers all have their share of the demise.
The security of sea lanes and freedom of navigation are imperative to a sustainable world economy. The threat of piracy, crimes, and terrorism remains ever-present. With marine transportation’s economic value, stakeholders all have innumerable reasons to secure what is undeniably inevitable. As nations would benefit from efficient maritime transportation to drive their economies, so would they reap the turmoils if they fail to make it secure. “Transnational threats cannot be treated in isolation” (Transnational Crime Converging Across Africa, 2019).
“UN Security Council Focuses its Attention on Maritime Crime.”The Maritime Executive, 5 February 2019. www.maritime-executive.com.
“Transnational Crime Converging Across Africa.” INTERPOL. 4 December 2018. www.interpol.int/en/news-and-events.
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