- Chapter 6: Maritime Security, Convention on the Law of the Sea
- International Order at Sea | SpringerLink
- The Committee to Save the World Order
- Fostering the Discussion on Securing the Seas.
Sovereignty requires external recognition, and even though some states may have de facto control of a land formation, they may not possess de jure or legal recognition by other states. In the seas, islands and rocks may be subject to sovereign acquisition claims, but not reefs or low-lying elevations.
Problematically, despite UNCLOS defining these features, there is sufficient vagueness to enable contests to flourish over how to classify different land formations in the seas. But a rock is only entitled to a territorial sea. By making these disputes about contested sovereignty claims, and sidelining UNCLOS, it is then hard for littoral Southeast Asian states — particularly Vietnam and Philippines — to access their marine entitlements under international law, especially oil and gas.
More generally, the South China Sea may be a litmus test for how rising powers may contest governance mechanisms in other non-sovereign spaces such as Antarctica or outer space. If Australia is genuinely committed to defending maritime rules, then it needs more than rhetoric. After all, the only state that has been bought into line so far is Australia: the resolution of the Timor Sea boundary was partly a consequence of accusations against Australia that its stance was hypocritical.
While Australia has operational presence in the South China Sea and in the air through Operation Gateway, it has been hesitant to participate in Freedom of Navigation Operations which directly challenge assertions that artificial islands can generate sovereign and maritime entitlements. Perhaps this is the time for Australia to consider how it can better align its declaratory and operational policies. She was awarded the prestigious Boyer Prize for best article published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs in This article is published under a Creative Commons Licence and may be republished with attribution.
Article of the LOSC grants every State the authority to seize any vessel or aircraft and associated property and arrest any persons engaged in piracy. Domestic courts of the State conducting the seizure may prosecute the pirates under domestic law and determine what to do with the vessels; however, to date the courts remain inadequate or unsupported in many places.
Piracy became a security issue of international concern in the last fifteen years, primarily in the Horn of Africa, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea; however, since the establishment of Combined Task Force CTF , focused on counter-piracy, and Combined Task Force CTF , focused on maritime security, piracy in that region has waned. Supported by several U. The attacks on commercial and military vessels employed underwater autonomous vehicles, advanced surface-to-surface missiles, and small boat swarming tactics.
Chapter 6: Maritime Security, Convention on the Law of the Sea
Refined methods by pirates may present a greater challenge to maritime security that will require changes to current anti-piracy measures in the region. Views on piracy are shaded by incomplete data. First, in the Pacific-Asia region, actual acts of piracy are most likely underreported and, of those that are reported, many are of such small scale that they cloud the true volume of major piracy events.
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.
International Order at Sea | SpringerLink
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 Committee to Save the World Order
The maritime industry has invested heavily in maritime security measures. 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.
It is clear our Navy is facing ever-increasing operational challenges, including not only air and sub-surface threats but also supersonic cruise missiles and ballistic missiles both anti-ship and surface to surface. Individually, these threats are difficult enough to combat, however, when encountered simultaneously; these threats severely challenge the current capabilities of our Navy.
For the last 70 years, radar has played a key role in maintaining technological superiority over our adversaries.
Fostering the Discussion on Securing the Seas.
Over the last decade, however, our radar capabilities have proved to be increasingly incapable of addressing existing and emerging threats. Fortunately, the Pentagon has taken positive steps to rectify the situation by making investments in the next generation of radars. Designed to replace the ageing Aegis combat system currently employed in the fleet the AMDR is constructed as a self-contained radar that is scalable for any platform for any mission, with the ability to exponentially increase radar sensitivity.
Not only will the AMDR more accurately detect missile threats, but it will also help ships run more efficiently. This new system reduces space, weight, power, and cooling demands of naval vessels, thereby maximizing the service life of the ships that incorporate this new technology. With the ability to confront multiple threats simultaneously — even in the presence of heavy land, sea, and rain clutter — the technological advancement of the AMDR is truly remarkable.