It was generally accepted that the areas with the highest threat of pirate attacked are along the line from the Seychelles to the Maldives and into the Mozambique Channel, but it is now clear that the Arabian Sea is another area in which pirate attacks are now occurring and that the zone within a triangle formed by Socotra, the Gulf of Oman and the northern Maldives is now also a threat area.
The coalition of maritime forces is therefore more critical than ever before to ensure security and stability in the region. The interception of suspected pirates in the Somali Basin earlier this month was a good example of what can be achieved with close cooperation between all maritime stakeholders. The Sierra Leone-flagged tanker MV Evita was able to evade attack by adopting industry recommended 'best management practices'. Commander, CTF 151, Rear Admiral Bernard Miranda, Republic of Singapore Navy, said: "Today's successful disruption operation was the result of close cooperation and swift responses from many parties, including the merchant ship MV Evita, the maritime organizations IMB and UKMTO, USS Farragut and the EU NAVFOR Swedish MPRA. The pirates have become bolder and are attacking ships further away from the Somali shores. This makes it even more important for all stakeholders to play their role and work closely together to deal with the piracy problem. What we witnessed today is a good example of how this can be achieved."
According to Hassan M. Eltaher, (Retired) Chief Marine Security Planning at Transport Canada "physical and technical security measures in and around ports, ships as well as territorial and international waters are a must to ensure the security and viability of sea lanes and merchant marine interests. However, without adequate and timely intelligence, the task of pre-empting attacks or criminal activities becomes costlier and much more difficult."
In the Middle East, the Combined Maritime Forces aim to strengthen the region's maritime capabilities and develop a multi-lateral strategy for effective Maritime Security Operations. Enforcing regional and international cooperation and collaboration is indeed a key factor in reducing the maritime sector's vulnerability. It is critical, however, to also enhance Maritime Domain Awareness in order to better identify and overcome the increasing and changing threats to the region's maritime security.
IQPC Middle East's Maritime Security and Surveillance Summit will provide a platform for benchmarking regional maritime security and surveillance best practices. High-level speakers from Royal Bahrain Naval Forces, United Arab Emirates Navy and Coast Guard, US Center for Naval Analyses, Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping/NATO Shipping Center, UK Maritime Trade Operations, Bahrain General Organisation of Sea Ports and Dubai Customs will share regional and international maritime security expertise and technology innovations.
The Middle East Maritime Security and Surveillance Summit will take place between the 30 May and 2 June at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain and Gulf Convention Center in Manama, Bahrain. If maritime security is on your agenda for 2010 ensure that you join our panel of experts to enhance your knowledge on the latest technologies and strategies available to combat threats to maritime threats in the Middle East region.