Maritime security threats undermine the global economy and threaten social progress and stability in all regions of the world.
These crimes committed at sea have, over time, led to millions of dollars of losses. Therefore, ensuring maritime peace depends on a determined, deliberate and strategic approach to counteract the perpetrators.
The oceans are core sustenance vitals, a necessity for the collective growth and development of the world economy and population. Also, it is pertinent to the continued economic integration of nations. Our sea is the primary source of food, energy and cargo transportation. Therefore, threats to maritime peace come with serious economic consequences.
Today’s major threats facing the maritime industry are:
- Maritime piracy
- Trafficking of people and illicit goods
Maritime piracy is the violent act of illegally detaining, plundering and hijacking a vessel to kidnap crew members, seize or appropriate the consignments on board.
The most horrendous of crimes committed on our oceans and seas today is maritime piracy.
Pirates and criminals on the high sea are typically well-organized and equipped with a technically advanced medium of communication.
It takes ample security experience to guard against maritime security threats like piracy.
Maritime terrorism is the deliberate sabotage, destruction or plundering of a vessel, threatening the security of marine navigation and effective international trade.
The maritime industry is constantly under threat of terrorist activities like piracy, explosion, etc. A sophisticated security apparatus is required to counteract aggression.
Cyber attacks on maritime installations can disrupt the world’s supply chain. Therefore, cybersecurity for the marine industry is a necessity. Also, the operation of ships is largely dependent on the effectiveness of software-based systems. Hence, a successful cyber attack on a vessel can cause huge losses and setbacks.
On this note, cybersecurity and enhancements in new technology, automation and the digitization of marine installations are paramount to enabling the industry to become more effective.
A stowaway is a person or group who secretly boards a ship or cargo with the intention of leaving his country for the destination of the vessel.
A stowaway is a threat to every vessel and its crew members because the cost of returning the entity or entities to their country can be very expensive and bad for business.
It is on this premise that a proper stowaway search must always be carried out before the departure of ships or vessels.
trafficking of people and illicit goods
Trafficking of people and illicit goods has become more widespread than ever before. This is due to the high demand for illicit substances like narcotics around the world also, an elusive search for greener pastures has led many – especially in third-world countries – to fall victim to human trafficking.
Also worrisome is the fact that terrorists can easily disguise themselves as illegal immigrants and pose a threat to host nations.
Maritime Security Best Practices
1. Training. Maritime guards and officers must regularly receive proper training on maritime security.
2. Inspection of a vessel. Maritime personnel must be vigilant and always on the lookout for any suspicious trail or occurrence.
3. Timely maintenance. Maritime security personnel and technicians must timely maintain a vessel to avoid a breakdown on the high sea, thereby exposing the vessel to pirate attacks.
4. Loading and unloading checks. The security officer must ensure that while loading and unloading cargo, proper checks must take place – inspecting from vessel stores to bunkers, etc.
5. Update and modifications. Maritime security experts must endeavor to keep themselves and the cyber installations up-to-date and calibrated at all times. Useful modifications to operations should be welcomed and implemented.
6. Audit and report problems. If an officer discovers anything during a vessel audit operation, the officer must quickly report to the company to implement repairs and corrective actions.
7. Run screening programs. All crew members that are to work on a departing vessel or cargo ship must be checked and cleared for proper identification before going aboard. Background tests should be implemented.
8. Unity in action. Maritime security personnel and crew members need to work according to the security plan and regulatory policies of the vessels in unity.
To successfully curb threats to the marine industry, maritime security best practices must be adhered to.
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