Bringing stakeholders together to improve collaboration in maritime security

Maritime Security Brief No. 4


Author: Dr Lisa Otto, Research Associate in Maritime Security


On 5 and 6 May 2016, Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR), in partnership with the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) at Stellenbosch University, convened a Maritime Security Workshop in Stellenbosch that brought together a diversity of stakeholders to discuss ‘The public/private domain of maritime security’.


This event is the first of an initiative being developed as part of CTPSR’s research partnerships that aims to bring about an effective platform for interface and collaboration in maritime security for stakeholders in South Africa, following on from the success of our work in this regard in Indonesia. This forms part of our vision to maintain research excellence with impact, that is, to produce research that is policy-relevant, and has applicability for practitioners and academics alike.


The workshop benefitted from inputs from academics, practitioners, law enforcement, intergovernmental organisations, and the private sector in order to examine the intersection of the private and public domains within various aspects of the maritime security space. A multiplicity of views were brought to conversations on the privatisation of maritime security, coastal communities, maritime crimes, inter-agency cooperation, and capacity-building; which made for robust debate and a sharing of standpoints and experiences across these various sectors. Coventry, of course, brought its own expertise to the event, with its specialists on Maritime Security at CTPSR making presentations at the workshop.


Math Noortmann, Professor in Transnational Law and Non-State Actors at CTPSR, spoke about regulation with respect to the privatisation of maritime security, noting that the role of the private sector in the maritime space is growing. He made the important point that private actors do not only carry out activities to secure maritime spaces at sea, but are also active on land, providing training services, threat and risk assessments, being involved in kidnap and ransom negotiations, and vessel tracking for example. In this way we see that not only do maritime threats extend from land to the sea, but maritime security indeed also extends from the sea to the land.


Lisa Otto, Research Associate in Maritime Security, contributed to the debate on maritime crime, speaking about how poorly defined this notion is, and how, as result, there is a tendency to conflate maritime piracy with maritime crime. She highlighted the need for clearer delineation of maritime criminal activities, particularly those that tend to be broadly described as ‘piracy’. This, in order to allow for less cluttered debate and a clearer understanding of the extent and contours of the actual crimes being faced in particular jurisdictions.


Ioannis Chapsos, Research Fellow in Maritime Security, gave insights into capacity building gained through CTPSR’s work in Indonesia, where it has, in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration, established a multi-stakeholder maritime security consortium. He highlighted how capacity building is understood in the context of development, and that more work needs to be done in order to define this concept when relevant to maritime security.


The workshop raised many interesting points that necessitate further reflection and interrogation, and that will inform the activities of the partnership between Coventry University and Stellenbosch University going forward.


Alongside this partnership with Stellenbosch, CTPSR is proud to announce an expansion of our taught programmes on Maritime Security. It will now be possible for both university graduates and working professionals to apply to study for a MA in Maritime Security over 24 months, with a 15 month ‘fast track’ pathway also available, but for those individuals who don’t want to pursue a Masters degree the Centre will also offer an 8 month Postgraduate Certificate in Maritime Security and a 17 month Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Security. All programmes will be offered in either blended or distance-learning formats allowing students to study whilst working, reinforcing the dynamism of the course through the contributions of those working in the field and strengthening the expertise the Centre can bring to its relationships with partner organisations and future workshops.

For more information on our Maritime Security courses please visit


To learn more about CTPSR’s involvement in the Maritime Security Workshop at Stellenbosch University, please contact the author, at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations.