The World International Studies Conference – summary report


world internaional studies logo

 By Lisa Otto

Visiting Researcher – Greenwich Maritime Institute

D.Phil Candidate – University of Johannesburg

The World International Studies Conference, convened 6 – 9 August at the Goethe University in Frankfurt hosted a maritime security panel series, entitled Maritime Securityscapes. This saw three panels and two roundtables discussing a variety of maritime issues.


The three maritime security panels comprised discussions on contemporary piracy, non-state actors in maritime security, and the securitisation of the maritime; while the two roundtables discussed lessons from the Contact Group on Piracy and off the Coast of Somalia, and the future of maritime security studies.


This initiative has been to the great credit of Christian Beuger of Cardiff University (and formerly of the GMI), who put in a lot of work to propose, put together and coordinate this panel series, effectively bringing together the small but flourishing group of researchers in the field of maritime security studies.


Lisa Otto, a visiting researcher at GMI who attended the conference and presented a paper there, now offers a snapshot of some of the interesting discussions made on the various maritime security panels.


                                                            *          *          *


Lessons from the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia:


This roundtable was perhaps one of the more interesting discussions had by maritime security experts in attendance and discussed the successes and failures of the CGPCS and interrogated whether there were opportunities to transfer lessons learned to address piracy in other regional contexts.


The CGPCS was established to address a finite problem, and came about in response to inertia or slow-moving responses to the piracy problem off the Somali coast. Given United Nations resolutions on the matter, the scope was there for the creation of such a body, essentially legitimised by the United Nations.


The discussants agreed that the CGPCS’ successes came primarily as a result of its limited geographic and sectoral focus, and the informal nature of its structure, engaging a large number of state and non-state stakeholders. This meant few barriers to entry for stakeholders, limited red tape, all the while granting ownership and legitimacy to this uncommon exercise in global governance in the eyes of the 600+ stakeholders involved.


These, however, are also described as being the characteristics responsible for the Contact Group’s weaknesses, as large membership created a duplication of efforts.


Nonetheless, several positive outcomes resulted from the CGPCS including shared awareness between multi-national forces present in the Gulf of Aden, as well as the Best Management Practices manual,  the maritime security centre for the Horn of Africa, and multi-national agreements for prosecution.


Currently, questions abound regarding what to do with the mechanism now that piracy off the coast of Somalia has declined dramatically in recent years. Speakers noted that pirates may still be present in Somalia, albeit dormant at present, which raises the risk for a great resurgence of piracy there should naval forces present there leave.


One suggestion put forward, was the establishment of a small secretariat that could act as a meeting point for stakeholders, which could convene when necessary to address threats and concerns related to maritime security, and sea piracy in particular. Furthermore, capacities will need to be transitioned, such that functions currently performed by international partners may be taken over by local institutions, who are then supported in their efforts by these partners.


As for the transferability of idea and template of the CGPCS, discussants and participants noted that lessons and successes in this instance are not likely to be applicable in other geographical settings where piracy currently presents a problem to the differing contexts in which they occur. In Somalia, one was dealing with a failed state and a threat within international waters, which thus rendered the issues within the remit of the international community to respond to. In other regions of the world, West Africa for example, the breadth of piracy crosses the waters of various territories, affecting states that may be weak but are certainly not failed. Furthermore, in this instance, the threat does not emanate from the high seas but from territorial waters, placing the concern under the jurisdiction of individual sovereign states rather than the international community.


Ultimately, while the initiative of the CGPCS has been widely considered as a success, it seems that this is unlikely to be duplicated in other contexts.


                                                            *          *          *


Look out for further installments this week for more insight into current debates in maritime security studies, as discussed at the WISC Conference.

Programme of Free Evening Seminars in Maritime Policy, Security and History

Greenwich Maritime Institute holds a range of events, seminars and conferences including the popular Public Research Seminar Series which are held in Greenwich at monthly intervals.

Experts are invited to give a presentation on areas that relate to the three broad themes that the GMI specialises in: Maritime History, Maritime Policy and Maritime Security. Presentations are then followed by questions from the audience. Anyone is welcome to attend these free seminars although advance booking is required via

This year we are pleased to announce a variety of topics such as:

  • Licensing Private Maritime Security Companies
  • Navy, Identity & Leisure in 20th Century Britain
  • Loss of the RB Angus
  • 1412 – The Year China Discovered the World
  • Designing New Vessels for 21st Century Tidal Thames
  • Human Rights Considerations in the Maritime Industry
  • China’s Ship Recycling


GMI Research Seminar Series 2013-14 – Download the brochure in PDF format

Maritime Crime: Piracy, Smuggling, Wrecking and Watery Whodunnits (A one-day short course)


The Greenwich Maritime Institute invites you to dive into a dark whirlpool of wrongdoing, past and present. Piracy, committed for private gain, is a form of maritime crime often in the headlines, but it is far from the only one. Led by Professor of Maritime Security Chris Bellamy, Dr Cathryn Pearce, author on wrecking, and Dr Helen Doe from Exeter University, an authority on smuggling, you will navigate through the depths of mankind’s misdeeds on the high seas, rivers and ashore.

The course will explore four main types of sea crime: piracy; wrecking; smuggling; and the wide variety of crimes committed aboard cruise ships, merchant ships and luxury yachts. Among the issues covered will be:

  • What is maritime crime?
  • Piracy then and now
  • Wrecking then and now
  • Smuggling then and now
  • Maritime murder

The course will take place on Wednesday 12th June 2012 from 9.30am – 4.30pm. The cost is £90 per person which includes lunch, refreshments, course materials and a certificate of attendance. A booking form can be found on the Greenwich Maritime Institute website:

Wreck image 250 pixels

A Student Perspective: The Role of the UK Border Force and its Component Parts

Nowadays, the interconnection of the world is becoming much more frequently and closed than ever before. Consequently, the security of the each country’s territory prioritises the other activities across the nations. It is clear that the effective home land security has been playing the vital part in the overall country routine management across the world. Securing the borders and protecting the communities from crime is a huge challenge and vitally important to the UK. The UK government perceive that it is urgent for authority to codify the guideline and to establish a specific agency or law enforcement to implement the government’s policy. The UK Border Force is such an arm of the government which was to counter the national border issue, e.g. human trafficking, drug and other counterfeit smuggling, counter-terrorism and illegal fishing.

The UK Border Force, acting as frontline force to tackle operation of air, sea and rail port, was a part of the Home office. The UK Border Agency was set up in 2008 following Labour Home Secretary John Reid’s 2006 declaration that the Home Office’s immigration directorate was “not fit for purpose”. On 20 February 2012, it was announced that the force would be separated from the UK Border Agency in March that year. The decision to split the two organisations was made by Home Secretary Theresa May following the publication of the Vine Report into unauthorised border checks. Since 1 March 2012, the Border Force has become the sole law operational unit apart from the home office which is led by the Director General and directly liable to the Minister. The new interim head of the Border Force, Chief Constable Brian Moore, officially took up office on Thursday, 01 Mar 2012 who will lead the newly formed Home Office operational command and will be responsible for immigration and customs.

The UK Border Agency will be responsible for immigration casework, in-country enforcement activity, the immigration detention estate and British overseas immigration operations. Since transform of the agency, the main task of the Border Force is to maintain the security of the UK’s border as well as the passage and cargo’s normal circulation. However, the immigration policy work will be separated from the operational unit which imply that the policy maker would not know the press and obstacle of the implementation front line unit. The bad example was demonstrated last year during the Olympic time when the traveller had to queue for four hours before they entered into the UK at airport. In spite of this, the UK Border Force still makes tremendous effort to manage the flow of passengers and goods through the border and maintains border security by straining the control in France and Belgium as well as modernise the workforce with technology. To some extent, the work of Border Force also facilitates legitimate travel and trade, helping to protect UK tax revenue and support economic recovery. Hence, to meet these high demand both in peak and tough season, the Border Force take relevant measures, e.g. annualising hours contracts, deploying staff more efficiently by developing a resourcing model and matching staff skills with the level of work being undertaken.

To sum up, to transform the operations and make sustainable large-scale cost reductions, the following approach will be taken by the Border Force: (a) issuing an operating policy on the use of Secure ID fingerprint checks as well as implementing a new operating mandate for border control; (b) creating a Strategy and Intelligence Directorate in order to analyse intelligence; measure performance; develop rules, procedures and guidance; and monitor compliance with those rules; (c) the operation of a newly established Training Academy in order to raise professional standards and to create a whole new management culture. Furthermore, later on this year, the new National Crime Agency will be charged with improving the intelligence capability at the border, investigating serious and organised border crime, and tasking law enforcement assets across all the relevant agencies; and (d) a greater use of technology: implementing a range of technology-based changes under the e-borders programme, including extending the use of e-gates and several changes are going to take place in the coming years. Changes will include increased use of e-gates and other new technology under the e-borders programme, with greater reliance on intelligence and carefully managed risk-based controls at the border.

With a new chief executive and a plan for comprehensive change, the UK Border Force is in better hands for the future and will become the disciplined law enforcement organisation it was established to be.

Yifeng Liu, MA International Maritime Policy Student


GMI One-Day Short Courses: Maritime Crime; Maritime Ancestry and Maritime China

Greenwich Maritime Institute are delighted to announce that registration is now open for three one-day short courses that are to be held in June 2013.

The courses all reflect the expertise and interests of our teaching staff so are a mixture of historical and contemporary themes. Anyone is welcome to attend, there are no entry requirements.

Fees: Each one-day course costs £90 per person. However if you would like to attend more than one course the fee for two courses is £160, or for all three courses £240. Fees include course materials; certificate of attendance; lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

For a booking form and more details on the courses, please visit our website:


Combating Piracy – House of Commons 25 October 2012

‘Why are you here, Sir?’


‘Not that Johnny Depp, Sir?’

No – Somali pirates….’

The Met Police security at Portcullis House at 18.30 on Thursday was  rather better humoured (but probably far more effective)  than  most of the security screens you meet.  On Thursday Chris Bellamy attended a meeting chaired by Eric Joyce, MP, ex-British Army and now involved in a number of working parties dealing with piracy – the number one Maritime Security problem at the moment.  There were brief opening talks by journalist  Liz MacMahon from Lloyd’s List  who has written 220 articles on piracy in the past year, and Peter Cook, founder of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI), who recently won Lloyd’s List‘s   ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award.

 The good news was that pirate attacks – and, therefore, successful attacks, in the Indian Ocean and off the east coast of Africa were well down on last year. The not-so-good news was that the proportion  of attacks that were successful had risen, and also that piracy attacks  on the other side of Africa,  in the Gulf of Guinea, had increased.  The decline in attacks in the Indian Ocean could be attributed to successful Naval operations, but also to the longest Monsoon in at least ten years.  The Monsoon was now abating, so this welcome trend might not be irreversible…

Last October David Cameron announced that British-flagged ships would be allowed to carry armed guards.  Peter Cook had been widely quoted as saying that the minimum strength of an armed team – four – should not be reduced in attempts to cut costs.  However, there was another problem.  Although British-flagged ships could now carry armed teams, those teams were in danger of carrying illegal weapons.  Why?  Because the provenance of each weapon – as well as its serial number and other details – had to be squeaky clean.  Many weapons were held in floating armouries – on the High Seas, and therefore out of the jurisdiction of littoral states. This seemed an ideal solution.  But, having allowed British-flagged ships to carry armed teams, the British Government had not got as far as licensing or approving the principal floating armoury whence the weapons could be drawn.  This was at sea off Sri-Lanka, licensed by and operating with the full approval of the Sri  Lanka Government.  The ship itself was joint Mongolian- Sri-Lankan flagged.  In discussion, with several  shipping companies represented, it emerged that there were estimated to be 17-20 floating armouries around the Indian Ocean – mostly Mongolian flagged.  At the moment, however, a British security team drawing weapons from one of these floating armouries would be in breach of the law. If they got into a shooting match with pirates, this could cause a problem.

On the face of it, solving the problem the problem should be quite simple.  Approve the Sri-Lankan- Mongolian floating armoury, and maybe another one at the other (west)  end of the Ocean.  But the subject had so far elicited little interest from the relevant Ministers. Chris suggested that maybe a Parliamentary Question could unlock the problem.

 After  a lively discussion, which also included the problems of charging and trying pirates, the meeting adjourned to ‘the other part of the Palace’.  Portcullis House, built in the 1990s, is linked with the main Houses of Parliament by an underground passage.  The old and the new have been merged skilfully:  1990s tudor-gothic revival with the 1830s gothic revival and pugin.  You descend some stairs, pass between a stone lion and unicorn, and are very quickly passing below Big Ben and into the catacombs below the Palace of Westminster.  A good deal of ‘networking’, appropriately lubricated,  then followed.

Chris Bellamy

Projecting Power from the Sea

At the beginning of the academic year 2012/2013, the GMI has started a new Masters programme. The MSc Maritime Security is the first course of its kind worldwide and offers insights into security aspects in the maritime world that are becoming more and more important.

Part of the new programme is a four-day field trip to the shores of Normandy where the projection of power from the sea became visible to the world on 6 June 1944. In the early hours of D-Day, soldiers from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada were transported in a huge number of landing crafts, along with their equipment and the necessary vehicles.

Another important part of Operation Neptune, as the landing operation itself was codenamed, were naval bombardments of the coastal defences, set up by the German military. Even though almost 70 years have gone by, many remnants can still be seen along the Normandy coastline. Together with Peter Caddick-Adams, military historian and lecturer at the UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham, the GMI group discovered the challenges for the allied operations and the possible extent of landing operations.

One of the most interesting sights the group visited were the remains of an artificial port in the town of Arromanches. Known by its codename Mulberry it played an important role in supplying the allies with the necessary equipment during the first months of their campaign. Within only a few weeks, a port the size of Dover was constructed from parts, brought in place by tug boats over the Channel.

Although it seems unlikely that landing operations of a similar scale will be conducted again in the future, the Normandy trip provided many insights into the challenges of any such operation. Different ways to support military operations from the sea, the implications of sea and weather conditions on the whole campaign and many related aspects were discussed in great detail.

Dirk Siebels, PhD Student

Newsmaker of the Year Award: Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)

Congratulations to SAMI for receiving the ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award by the Lloyd’s List Global Awards 2012.

Formed in 2011 by Peter Cook, SAMI is the first organisation introduce a level of regulatory discipline and scrutiny to ensure that the maritime industry can easily identify reputable maritime security companies. They provide reassurance and guidance, where none has existed before and establishes the benchmark for standards within the industry. Prior to the UK’s decision to legalise the use of armed guards on commercial vessels in October of last year, private maritime security companies operated in a grey area of shipping. However since the legalisation the private maritime security industry still has a 100% success rate as there has yet to be an incident formally reported which involves the hijack of a vessel that has armed guards on board and piracy in the Gulf of Aden has dropped for the first time in five years. It is therefore difficult to deny the importance of this growing sector.

For the last year the GMI have been working closely with Peter Cook the founder of SAMI on the development of the new MSc Maritime Security degree programme by ensuring that the content accurately reflects that which is demanded by the industry. We thank SAMI for their help and advice and congratulate them for their well-earned award.

To find out more about SAMI visit the association website

Limerick Lecture – ‘Piracy: Then and Now’

You are cordially invited to the annual Limerick Lecture at London Metropolitan Business School. The event will take place on Tuesday 29th of November 5.30 for 6.00 pm.  Proceedings shall commence with a presentation on Piracy: Then and Now by Professor Christopher Bellamy, Director Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich and chaired by Dr. Robyn Pyne. This will be followed by a presentation ceremony of student prizes for the graduating class of 2011 and a networking reception.  

RSVP Dr. Reza Mirmiran

Tel: 02073201576

Venue: Room MG1.17
           London Metropolitan University
           84 Moorgate, London EC2M 6SQ