Christian Bueger


Attending SHADE: The key military coordination mechanism in the Western Indian Ocean

The Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism is a brainchild of the responses to piracy off the coast of Somalia. It is the key instrument through which the various navies coordinate each others activities and arrange for the International Coordinated Transit Corridor, and convoys and patrols in the Western Indian Ocean region. It is also the main mechanism through which the transport industry and navies collaborate on a strategic level. The successful coordination in SHADE is one of the key factors explaining the decline of Somali piracy.

On the 27th of May, the 48th SHADE meeting took place as usually held in Bahrain. This time it was complemented by an online participation platform through which I had the honor to address the participants.

At the meeting, I presented some of the key insights from the SafeSeas survey of regional maritime security alignments in the Indo Pacific. I provided an overview and emphasized that institutional proliferation is problematic. In consequence, SHADE must ask how it sits in this environment, and how it wants to continue its work in the long run.

This is ever more important as SHADE in the meantime is a platform for discussing various maritime security issues. As reflected in the presentations at the meeting this includes, illegal fishing, smuggling, or the security situations around the Yemeni coast and Strait of Hormuz.


Presentation at NATO Maritime Security Conference

What are the consequences of the Anthropocene for maritime security? How will climate change and heigthened awareness for marine conservation impact blue crimes and the work of maritime security forces?

These are the questions that I address in a talk given at the NATO Maritime Security Centre of Excellence 2020 conference on September 16th.

A video of the presentation is available here.


Presentation at African Maritime Collaborative Working Group

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.


Awareness Meeting of the IFC

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.

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UNODC Expert Meeting in Mauritius

From the 14th to 18th of October the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) is hosting its Legal Expert Network meeting in Mauritius. Part of the meeting is to review the forthcoming 3rd edition of Maritime Crime: A Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners. This concerns in particular new chapters on ship rider provisions, on submarine cable protection as well as stateless vessels.

At the meeting I will be leading a brainstorming exercise on Transnational Maritime Environmental Crime drawing on work conducted in the Safeseas network new project Transnational Organised Crime at Sea (TOCAS). Arguing for distinguishing between three “blue crimes” (crimes against mobility, criminal flows, and environmental crime), I discuss illicit waste trade, pollution crimes, illegal extraction, and other damages to the marine environment and the respective legal regimes addressing these. Part of the discussion will be how to deal with the complexity of the environmental crime at sea regimes.


UNODC training week in Stellenbosch

From the 24th to 27th of September I will be attending the training week of UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. At the event I will deliver two training sessions. The first one looks at Environmental Crime at Sea, and is largely a scoping exercise, asking how we should conceptualise environmental crimes in the context of ocean governance and the anthroprocene. The second session focuses on Maritime Security Governance drawing on the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the governance model presented there as well as the relevance of maritime security strategy. I will also chair a public roundtable jointly organised with SIGLA. The roundtable is titled “Caught between AIMS-2050 and Lomé: Why do African states still not care about the seas and oceans?”. It features a range of South Africa based maritime security experts and investigates the reasons for the lack of attention in African states for ocean governance and maritime security.


Presentation on Maritime Domain Awareness

Danish Navy in Port

This week the industry fair MAST Northern Coasts was held in Copenhagen, bringing a range of international naval and industry representatives to the city. The exhibition was accompanied by a small conference at which I had the pleasure to give a talk on maritime domain awareness (MDA). Drawing on the research on MDA in different regions, I looked into the questions of what is difficult in implementing MDA and why we don’t see the emergence of a Baltic regional MDA structure.


Maritime Security training Course in U.S.

From the 21st to 27th of July I attended a training course on Civil-Military Approaches for Maritime Security organised by the Institute for Security Governance, in Monterey, CA. The course is part of the US capacity building work on maritime security and taught since 2008. As part of the course I delivered a module on maritime domain awareness, relying on my 2015 article on Maritime Domain Awareness in Southeast Asia as well as the results of the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the model of maritime security governance it outlines. I also reviewed the core ideas behind Maritime Domain Awareness, and discussed with the participants the core hindrances to information sharing.


Contact Group on Piracy meeting in Copenhagen

On May 28th we had the pleasure to co-host a strategy meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in Copenhagen. Held in association with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Shipping and the Indian Ocean Commission the main objective of the meeting was to discuss the future strategy of the group. The discussion was based on a report that I have written together with Jessica Larsen from the Danish Institute of International Studies.

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The IFC at ten: Attending the MARISX Information Sharing Exercise in Singapore

Singapore is host to one of the most successful initiatives for sharing information and developing maritime domain awareness on a regional level. The Information Fusion Centre (known as IFC) operated by the Singaporean navy has become a global template for how to improve the flow of maritime information, conduct solid analysis of activities and trends at sea, but also to react rapidly to any maritime incident across borders and jurisdictions.

On the 14th of May the IFC celebrated its 10th anniversary. At the celebration it also launched the new information sharing platform of the centre. The celebration was part of the annual exercise MARISX.

I had the opportunity to attend the event as an observer. Following my earlier visits to the IFC in 2018 and 2015 (see my article on the IFC here), I could for the first time see the exercise in action. MARISX brought together participants from ASEAN navies and coastguards, and various international partners, including Australia, China, Germany, India, Seychelles, the UK or the US. For three days participants had the opportunity to try out the brand new IFC Real-time Information-sharing System (IRIS) to address real life scenarios, such as illegal fishing, illegal migration or piracy incidents. The participants also discussed how such incidents can be better managed jointly using the platform. A number of national operational centers (OPCENs) from different countries participated remotely in the exercise. Also representatives from the shipping industry, including the Singapore Shipping Association or Intertanko, as well as international organisations such as Interpol and UNODC contributed to the event.

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