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This article is written by Ayushi Mahajan, currently pursuing BBA-LL.B from Centre For Legal Studies, Gitarattan International Business School (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University). This article talks about UNCTAD’s report on maritime issues and its related concepts.


The terrorist groups all around the world have seen many challenges of securing the maritime domain as the opportunity to advance their political goals. The crime on the high seas are becoming increasingly sophisticated which are endangering human life on land and the economic growth of the entire regions and for the global safety, the head of the United Nations anti-crime agency warned the security council for underscoring the vital role of the international legal treaties in combating the scourge.

Maritime security: in search of a meaning

Maritime security is considered to be one of the latest buzzwords in international relations. The major actors in maritime policy, international security and ocean governance which have in the past decade started to include in their mandate or reframed their works in such terms in maritime security.

Transnational organised crimes at sea

Piracy and armed robbery at sea

The crime of the piracy remains the centre of the international concern, in the view of the surge off the coast of Somalia and most recently in the Gulf of Guinea. The extraordinary increase in the piracy in these regions has attracted the extensive media coverage, which has been subsequently led to a multipronged international response as per the latest reports of the International Maritime Organization: In the first 8 months of 2012, there were 84 attacks on the ships in the waters off the coast of Somalia, resulting in the hijacking of 13 ships. During the year of 2012, the majority of the attacks leading to the vessels were being hijacked took place in the western Indian ocean. This is the comparison with 234 reported attacks and 29 ships which were hijacked during the same period in 2011. As of 31 August 2012, 224 people and 17 vessels were being held as the hostage. This compares with the 378 people and the 18 vessels which were held at the end of August 2011.

Smuggling of migrants and human trafficking at the sea

For many years, people have been usually undertaking very perilous journeys, putting their lives into some serious dangers as a way to the safety for the persons in the fear of their lives, or a gateway for the others in the search for the better lives. The sea can be the location of the exploitation of the victims of the trafficking in persons or by the means which they are transported to another place from one place. Smuggling of the migrants by the sea is the most dangerous types of smuggling for the migrants concerned. In addition to the means of transportation, fishing boats, cargo ships and merchant’s vessels can also be the places where the human rights of the migrants are violated. The oceans have the facilitation of the commerce of the human beings which are traded like the commodities from one jurisdiction to the another, adding to the probability of the trafficking in the persons and the smuggling of the migrants in the illegal enterprises.

Drug trafficking

Though there is a wide variety of the methods of the transit which are utilized by the drug traffickers Although used by drug traffickers, transit has a wide variety of uses Private and commercial vessels have a long-standing issue. This is particularly the case With drugs like cocaine, opium and its derivatives, and cannabis. Each of them Substances regulated by the Single Convention on Drugs have been amended, Where transportation includes routes to maritime areas. UNODC has reported: “…or North American market, cocaine is usually transported from Colombia Mexico or Central America by sea and then by the United States land states and Canada. Cocaine is smuggled into Europe by sea, often in container shipments. Colombia remains the main source of cocaine. Europe, but direct shipment from Peru and Bolivia’s plurinational state much more common than in the United States market. 

Fisheries crime

One of the longest-standing and recurring grounds for interference with foreigners ship fishing on high seas is a crime. Illegal fishing is often concerned with illegal, unported, unregistered fishing (IUU fishing). Collectively, IUU fishing covers a wide range of fishing activities, which can be considered a violation. Or in relation to applicable international, regional or national fisheries regulations And standard. IUU fishing has been one of the main issues on the international fisheries agenda of the last decade. This is because IUU fishing has been recognized as a staple threat to fisheries conservation and marine biodiversity. It is reported that: “In the case of fisheries, more than 75 percent of the world’s fish stocks are already reported fully exploited or overexploited and an increasing number of marine species are considered in danger or danger. “

Illegal pollution of the marine environment

Every year, up to 810,000 tonnes of oil is dumped knowingly and illegally into the oceans of the world by commercial ships. As a result, seabird populations are reduced, slow-moving shellfish such as clams, oysters and muscles poisons and fish, if not killed by harmful toxins of oil, lose their ability to reproducing, reproducing mutilated offspring, or even more, on ingestion of oil toxic substance. Isolates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that have natural habitats either oil ingestion in or near coastal waters results in death or poisoned with poisonous waste before dying by eating wildlife.

A significant amount of this pollution is due to oil bunkering. To reduce the chance of being caught, ships are often illegally dumping your oily waste outside the territorial sea of ​​any port, flag, or coastal state along regular shipping routes or in a field of recent nighttime oil accidents. The reasons for pollutants to choose these places and times are straight.

Deconstructing threats: the securitization framework

A second framework that can be drawn from constructive security studies developed since the 1990s. Political debates on the content and priorities of security and defence policies after the Cold War recognized within security studies what was needed was an analysis of the political process by which threats are posed and issues raised on the security agenda.

One of the major frameworks which are coming out of this discussion is the ‘securitization framework.’ Originally proposed by Ole Weaver and Barry Buzan, he stated that there is a real argument for the construction hazard, so such processes can be analyzed through a generic framework.

Securitization states that threats are formed by (a series of assertions) that are based on a certain general grammar. In this grammar, an issue of piracy is considered the existential threat for a certain reference object, for example a nation-state or international trade. Such claims are successful only if they are presented by actors who have the authority to speak out about security and if the relevant target audience accepts such threats. Threat construction usually comes with a proposal for the measures that should be taken to protect for the reference object from the threat. It is a distinguishing feature of security for Buzan and Waiver, that the counter-measures are extraordinary and often extreme. These may include military equipment on a scale of military conflict or significant reductions of civil liberties.

Key findings

  • Compared to the largest regional agglomeration by region, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea are grouped together to highlight the relationship between VNSAs (Violent Non State Actors) operating in Africa, the Middle East and South America. There are trafficking avenues in the region that provide a steady flow of money and other resources to VNAS like ELN (Electronic Lab Notebook). In addition, protracted conflicts continue in North Africa and the Middle East, and smuggling of small arms continues back and forth across the Mediterranean.
  • The Western Indian Ocean region, which includes the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean, this report highlights the most active VNSAs of the three regions. VNSAs in the region, particularly the Taliban and Haqqani networks, are evidence that even landlocked groups have been able to finance maritime domains and facilitate their political objectives- in this particular case, opinion trade by participating in. Other VNSAs in the region take advantage of the maritime space for licenses and traffic in illicit goods, wildlife and animal products.
  • Although the number of the active VNSAs in the Indo-Pacific is the lowest in the three regions, groups in this region are particularly violent into the ocean. Many Indo-Pacific VNSAs have high tactical support and scores, and the region is also home to some of the most high-profile attacks ever, including the Abu Sayyaf Group bombing of Superferry 14, and the fatal 2008 by Lashkar gone are the fatal attacks. 

Coastal developments

Coastal development is defined as a human-induced change of landscape within the sight of the coastline. It includes building structures that are normally on or near the coast for conservation, commerce, communication or recreation. These structures support economic and social activities that can have a positive or negative impact on the coastal environment.

Worldwide, 2.5 billion people (40% of the world’s population) currently live within 100 km of the coast, adding to the pressure on coastal ecosystems. Coastal development involving human settlements, industry, aqua-culture or infrastructure can cause serious impacts on adjacent ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. The effects of coastal development can be direct such as coral and sand mining for landfill, dredging, and construction, or indirect, such as increased runoff of sediment and pollutants. 

Like other countries, Mexico’s coastline is highly valued for several reasons. Beyond its intrinsic ecological value, it also provides the country with tourism, recreation, sports, communications, real estate, transportation, renewable energy, oil and gas, fisheries and aquaculture, and ports and harbors. Factors affecting development along the Mexican coast should be better understood to minimize harm to the environment.

Maritime terrorism

The tendency to ignore activities at sea is a phenomenon known in the maritime law enforcement community as maritime superstition. It has and will continue to have detrimental effects on the environment, economic development and human security. Critically, sea blindness impedes campaigns to combat maritime terrorism and other forms of violent extremism.

Combating violent non-state actors

Most attempts to eliminate violent non-state actors occur on land, yet at sea these groups are virtually uncontested, worldwide. As a result, sea blindness has allowed violent groups to carry out attacks on soft maritime targets, finance their activities through smuggling and exploitation, and coordinate their operations with maritime movements of weapons and fighters.

Multilateral initiatives working to prevent governments and maritime terrorism have to see the sea for the opportunities presented to these groups. Until then, violent non-state actors will continue to exploit poor maritime regimes to support political violence onshore. Stagnant seas are engaged with global partners to have a better understanding of these activities and organise new efforts to stop them. This requires cooperation with military branches, government agencies, and multilateral organisations that focus on many aspects of this complex problem. The following resources provide more information about our work in this area.


Combating organised transit crime at sea poses many challenges for both states and international organizations. This is because organised crime at sea is a multilateral problem, which includes many criminal activities and many practical difficulties. Home setting challenges may arise while conducting enforcement sea. Such operations may involve multinational forces with no specific mandate or no knowledge of evidence collection, handling sensitive issues for witnesses testimonial or human rights. It often happens that naval forces have different rules. Maritime security is a credo. It has no definite meaning. It derives its meaning from the actors by relating the concept to others, filling it with various issues and attempting to act in its name. This can be addressed by coordination between competent international organisations and the development of more Mutual Legal Aid (MLA) and Extradition Agreements. The ratification of existing multilateral treaties regarding the cohesion of mutual organised crime and domestic law is essential in the fight against organised crime related to transit at sea.


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