Maritime Dimension of Transnational Organised Crime

logoFunder: ESRC/AHRC

Funding: £100.000

Partners: International Organisation for 
Migration & Oxford Brookes Univesity

PI: Math Noortmann

This project is one of 11 projects awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council within the the Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) Theme of the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research. (see

The prosed research builds on the collaboration between the Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) of Coventry University (UK) and the International Organization for Migration Indonesia (IOM). This collaboration started in 2014 with a specific focus on the interrelation between maritime and human security issues in Indonesia. In 2015, the partners established a consortium focused on Indonesian maritime security. This consortium brings together key stakeholders from government, academia and the private sector and acts as an interface to conduct joint research. With the active involvement of IOM/Indonesia, support from the consortium and with the interdisciplinary expertise of the investigators (experts in law, anthropology and political sciences), the proposed research is perfectly positioned to investigate the many challenges related to transnational maritime organized crimes. The research will investigate such issues as: who are considered to be the main actors in the maritime domain; which particular ‘crimes’ are being experienced and with what effect; what law enforcement tools and recourses are being used and with what success; what specific threats are articulated by coastal communities; how do the communities and law enforcers appreciate each other; and what do these stakeholders see as ways forward.

The research will provide insights into these matters on the basis of focus group discussions with staff members of law enforcement agencies (such as the Maritime Security Agency, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the National Search and Rescue Agency, the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the Directorate General of Immigration and the Indonesian National Police) as well as with coastal community leaders and members. The selected coastal communities, of which a number are participants in IOM/Indonesia activities, include maritime crime prone locations in North Sumatra, South Java, Flores, Sulawesi, Maluku, and East Nusa Tenggara. The focus group sessions all include the making of collages, a visual tool through which the research participants are invited to express their experiences by using photos, newspaper headings, magazine clippings and other printed materials. These collages are intended to represent the participants’ unique understanding of the maritime problems and the position of the various actors involved. These images will be used first of all to establish the direction of the research as well as to elicit discussions beyond standard interview sessions and support the interpretation of the legal and policy documents. This research design is considered best suited to understand the background of transnational organized crime, maritime security and law enforcement through the eyes of the key stakeholders involved.

Research Team:

Dr. Math Noortmann, Prof. in Transnational Law and Non-State Actors, Coventry University

Dr. Juliette Koning, Reader in Organisation Studies and Asian Business, Oxford brookes University

Dr. Ioannis Chapsos, Research Fellow in Maritime Security, Coventry University

Dr. Peter Munro, Researcher, International Organisation for Migration, Jakarta