The UK Government has launched its first national strategy for maritime security (NSMS), in a demonstration of the country’s approach to delivering maritime security at home and abroad.
The strategy sets out how the UK will organise and deploy its national capabilities to detect, assess and manage maritime security challenges. It also aims to connect the government with industry and international partners, to build an effective approach to maritime security risks faced by seafarers.
UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Guy Platten said that piracy may not be making as many headlines this year, but it is still a major threat to the safety of seafarers in many parts of the world, particularly in West Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, where reducing the risks must be a priority.
"The strategy will not only make an immediate impression on the safety of UK ships and seafarers, but also demonstrate the UK’s approach to addressing some of the root causes of piracy in other parts of the world, including capacity building on land," Platten said.
The new approach is aimed at promoting a secure maritime area where international maritime laws are upheld, and would also help other nations to expand their own maritime security.
The NSMS also intends to boost the safety and security of ports and offshore installations, and passenger and cargo vessels, to guard the citizens and economies of the UK and the overseas territories.
"The NSMS will allow industry to share its specialist knowledge across government to develop better joint responses to threats and we look forward to continuing this work together," Platten added.
Accounting for more than 2% of the overall UK economy, the maritime sector plays a vital role for the UK, with most of its connections across the world being offered by the sea with more than 90% of trade carried through ships.
Image: River-class patrol vessels of the Fishery Protection Squadron. Photo: courtesy of leading airman Caroline Davies, Crown copyright.