The Changing Face of Maritime Security

Med Security Summit

The Med Security Summit is the only event of it’s type in Italy. Part of the Genoa Shipping Week, the first edition was held in September 2015 and is now a fixed appointment in this important calendar of events and meetings.

The Summit takes a holistic approach to examining a series of issues critical to the maritime and shipping communities. Held in English, the Summit places great importance on input from speakers coming from different nations and professional backgrounds. Over a period of two days the Summit will examine issues as diverse as Maritime Terrorism and Cybersecurity, Maritime Intelligence and Geopolitics. A special, extended session will examine in detail Port and Terminal Security taking into consideration topics such as Future Risks and Cruiseline Security.

The conference will place particular attention on security in the Mediterranean, however, the sessions will examine the much wider picture of global maritime security.

By bringing together actors and experts from fields as diverse as the legal profession, private security, port security and geopolitical analysis, the Summit places itself as a must attend event for all with an interest in maritime security.

Over the coming months the Med Security Summit will publish a series of articles and interviews with conference speakers. The subject areas covered will mirror the themes to be addressed at the Summit. Those already on the emailing list will receive the publications automatically, those wishing to join the emailing list can do so via the website: http://www.medsecuritysummit.com

In the first of the MSS articles, Contents Manager Mark William Lowe makes an overview of some of the security issues facing the maritime and shipping communities.

A Dynamic Scenario

As the recent hijacking of a commercial vessel off the coast of Puntland demonstrates, maritime security is a dynamic; certain problems that appear to have been resolved can emerge once more with dramatic consequences for those operating in areas not necessarily considered as being at high risk. As recent statistics prove, piracy, a centuries old problem, has not died out at all. Indeed South East Asia, Western Africa and Central America remain areas of considerable concern. The Summit will discuss the problems and risks related to operating in these areas.

Increased violence in maritime crime is another area of particular concern, again the most recent statistics evidence an alarming trend that cannot be ignored be it in the Gulf of Guinea or off the coast of the Philippines. What can be done about this and what measures operators can implement will be the subject of debate in Genoa.

Since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, with rival administrations, parliaments and militias vying for influence, Libya has been in a state of turmoil since 2011. The consequences for the shipping community are numerous and lie not only in Libyan ports themselves but also in the surrounding territorial waters. Instability in regions such as Libya and the Yemen lie at the heart of a series of problems that have an impact on both commercial and humanitarian operations. While commercial operations are threatened, humanitarian operations can be blocked leading to a worsening of already tragic situations. The problems related to operating in complex environments are dynamic; an ever changing scenario where port-side violence has been expanded to the use of mines, drone and vessel-borne-explosive-devices all of which represent serious challenges to operators navigating certain waters and entering high-risk ports. Operating in Complex Environments is a theme that cannot be ignored and one that requires particular consideration.

In terms of geopolitics and political instability, there are a number of countries and regions that merit particular attention, the Summit will address a number of them with the objective of understanding the scenario and examining what the future will bring. Two of these areas will be West Africa and Central America, regions that over the years have presented a number of considerations and that today represent scenarios that do not appear to offer any signs of improvement. Other areas that present a series of issues of concern are the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean region, each of which presents numerous challenges that are determined by a diverse range of factors. What occurs at sea is always a consequence of decisions made on land and it is for precisely this reason that security managers require an understanding of future changes.

Another area of particular interest and concern is that of Cybersecurity. While the subject has been, and will continue to be, a hot topic amongst experts, the Med Security Summit will address the issue from the point of view of what Operators, shipping and port-side, need to know in order to understand where the risks lie. Over the years a number of potential threats have emerged; the disruption of onboard computer networks, interference with the GPS signal feed and corruption of data related to cargo or crew members. Of these threats which are science fiction and which are to be considered as realistic? What do shipping companies and port authorities need to understand and how a risk assessment conducted? In a sector with so many different contexts, realities, stakeholders and actors is there a standard audit or are the threats so diverse that each scenario requires its own specific assessment.

While maritime security is often perceived in terms of threats to shipping, equally at risk are the ports and terminals which serve both vessels and onwards carriers. By definition these gateways to the seas are subjected to a number of threats ranging from theft, illegal migration and the trafficking of narcotics to the most alarming of scenarios which can include sieges on board vessels in port or a deliberate sinking aimed at denying access. Risk assessments have to be dynamic and those charged with port security require support from a number of quarters. The Med Security Summit has reserved an entire afternoon to the Port and Terminals segment and discussions will cover a number of highly interesting issues.

Unfortunately migration across the Mediterranean sea remains a cause of very serious concern. During June’s Med Security Summit our experts will discuss the phenomenon and its impact on commercial activities. Speakers will address questions as diverse as a Master’s obligations, on board security, compensation and support.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2017 Med Security Summit!