Time to recharge the batteries before the new academic year starts in September. From 19th to 28th of August I am on holidays in Tuscany. Emails and queries will be answered from 31st of August.
On August 18th I participated in a webinar on the oil spill in Mauritius organised by the Mauritian diaspora.
The oil spill that occurred in Mauritius this week is an environmental tragedy. Having been to the island a number of times. I was shocked to see the pictures of these stunning waters destroyed by 1.000 tonnes of oil.
Based on a detailed reconstruction of the unfolding of the disaster and our work on capacity building, I wrote a number of short comments. I also gave a range of interviews to international and regional news outlets, including with BBC Radio, Reuters and Deutsche Welle TV.
In an article in The Diplomat I argue that in particular governments in small states need to see oil spills as national priorities. They need to undertake reviews of the national response plans in the light of the disaster. Read the article The Mauritius Disaster: Overlooked Dimensions of Maritime Security, published on August, 12th.
The Mauritius Times printed an interview with me on August, 14th. Read the interview in which I discuss the importance of learning the lessons from the disaster here.
On the same day, Today in Seychelles published a commentary titled Mauritius oil spill: Seychelles must protect its natural beauty and industry. I argue that Seychelles should urgently review its own contingency plans.
In addition, we published the a more detailed analysis of the response, whether and how the government was prepared and what questions need to be addressed on the same day as SafeSeas Commentary.
The Conversation published a further comment that shows the weakness of the responses of the government and the industry. I argue for a public and transparent investigation of the issue.
A further contribution that addresses the regional consequences for the security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean, co-authored with Tim Edmunds was published by the Observer Research Foundation.
From 17-20th of August I am participating in the workshop ‘Green water Opportunities in the Indian Ocean Region’ organised by the U.S. Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. The workshop revisits the core security and strategic challenges across the Indian Ocean.
In my own contribution to the event I draw on the first results from the TOCAS project, focusing on the Western Indian Ocean and in particular the problem of the continuing lack of capacity and the institutional fragmentation in the region. Contact me by email for a copy of the talk.
In the afternoon of August 4th, a major explosion in the port of Beirut killed over 100 people and left thousands wounded. Given the importance of the port for Lebanon’s economy, the consequences will be felt for years.
Together with Scott Edwards I have written a series of commentaries that aim at contextualising the disaster and analysing its consequences for global trade and port management. We particular highlight the link to abandoned ships and containers, as well as the broader challenges posed by the trade in hazardous materials.
Our first general analysis was published by The Conversation, the day after the disaster. Read the piece titled “Beirut explosion: the disaster was exceptional but events leading up to it were not – researchers.” We argue to interpret the event in the light of the broader problem of abandoned ships and container.
Our second comment focuses on Africa. Recognising that African ports are particularly vulnerable, we argue for dedicated capacity building work to address the handling of hazardous material and waste crimes. The article titled “African ports need to learn the lessons of Beirut” was published by African Business Magazine on August 6th.
A third comment published with The Diplomat on August 7th, investigates the consequences for Southeast Asia, arguing that ports in the region have struggled in the past and now need to step up there game. Read “The Beirut Disaster Is a Wake-up Call for Southeast Asia. The devastating explosion in Beirut reminds us how vulnerable Southeast Asian ports might be.”
Much confusion surrounds the question what kind of crimes at sea do need attention. The UN Security Council struggled with this question, as does the larger maritime security discourse. To offer new foundations, we offer in a new article a matrix for how to organise the debate. We propose the concept of blue crime as a way of thinking and organising the discussion on transnational organised crime at sea in a new article published with Marine Policy. It is one of the outcome of our TOCAS project and co-authored with Tim Edmunds. Read it here.
On July 16th I had the pleasure to give a presentation on our our new project AMARIS to the African Maritime Collaborative Working Group by the US government. The group seeks to gather the US government’s “African Maritime Community of Interest in an open thought-provoking environment, […] to better enable US participation in African and worldwide maritime Domain Integration and Security Awareness.”
In the presentation I set out the core objectives of AMARIS for understanding the maritime security situation in Ghana, and what broader lessons can be gained from it. I particularly highlighted the potential of our training school to form a sustainable network of maritime security analysts.
The Information Fusion Center (IFC) based in Singapore is one of the most important regional maritime security information sharing centers. One of their core functions is to collect and distribute information on maritime security incidents to an international public and in particular the international shipping community.
One of the formats that the IFC uses is the so-called Shared Awareness Meeting (known as SAM). SAM takes place every couple of months and it is usually a half day meeting in Singapore bringing the regional stakeholders together. On the 15th of July I had the opportunity to participate in the 35th SAM. Due to Covid restrictions it was held for the first time completely virtual. The meeting attracted an unprecedented number of 200 participants.Continue reading
In spring this year I have accepted the invitation by the Journal of International Studies to join their international advisory board. The journal is based in Malaysia, fully open access and published since 15 years. It is an important outlet to give scholars from the Global South and especially the Southeast Asian region a voice in the global debates.
I am hence glad to offer my support to the journal. On July the 13th, I was able to join my first board meeting. The journal editors are ambitious and want to continue their successful mission. Like other journals key challenges lie in the increasingly competitive publishing environment, predatory journals, but also how to ensure high visibility in the internet age. I am sure that the journal’s team will tackle these challenges. If you have an article that fits the journal, do consider them as one of the upcoming and emerging outlets.