Past eventResearch Event

Weapons on Vessels? States, Private Security and Responsibility for Responding to Maritime Threats

17 November 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Chatham House, London


Karsten Von Hoesslin, Host, Lawless Oceans, National Geographic Series 
Dr Alex Vines OBE, Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House
Jon Huggins, Senior Advisor, Oceans Beyond Piracy
Conrad Thorpe OBE, CEO, Salama Fikira
Dr Ioannis Chapsos, Research Fellow in Maritime Security, Coventry University
HE Yackoley Kokou Johnson, Permanent Representative of Togo to the United Nations Office, Geneva
Stephen Askins, Partner, Tatham McInnes
Chair: Dr Eva Pejsova, Senior Analyst, European Union Institute for Security Studies 



Recent reports document a proliferation of contracted maritime security models to protect commercial vessels in territorial and international waters. These are especially prevalent in areas with heightened threats of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, in the Gulf of Guinea and in parts of South East Asia. With rising industry demand, traditional models of contracted security have increasingly been interchanged with models offering unregulated commercial guards, as well as government forces providing security for a fee. This has raised concerns about ensuring oversight and use-of-force policies, and some of these models challenge the responsibility or authority of littoral states in providing a safe environment for maritime commerce. In a worst-case scenario, lack of training, control and accountability could put lives at risk and result in the unregulated flow of weapons.

At this event, the speakers will discuss different models of contracted maritime security, the responsibilities for accountability and possible oversight mechanisms which could be used to address this issue.