Regional states discuss ways to improve maritime security


Speaking to Khaleej Times, Chris Trelawny, who represented the IMO Secretary-General, Efthimios Mitropoulos, to the first-of-its-kind Regional Seminar on Maritime Security in the Arabian Gulf, highlighted that “maritime security is a complex exercise as it encompasses a number of things such as prevention pollution, protection of the marine environment, countering piracy, terrorism, armed robberies against ships, drugs and weapons smuggling, illegal migration as well as human trafficking.”


Praising Bahrain’s General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOSP) for taking the initiative in organising the seminar with association of IMO, and the Kingdom taking leading steps to create awareness for joint efforts is commendable, he was hopeful that the four-day seminar would end on a highly positive note with the clear cut idea of what strategy should be taken.


More than 60 representatives from the six GCC states, Iran, Pakistan and Yemen as well as senior personnel from the US and UK naval forces participated in the seminar.


The IMO Secretary-General’s address highlighted the challenges are plenty, “but this seminar is not just about the challenges, for we must also focus on opportunities,” pointing out that the revenue from a well-managed, protected and sustainable fishing industry could be significant.


“Reduction of poverty, unrest and mismanagement, through proper investment and the rule of law will allow industries and tourism to flourish, with greater revenue generation as a result.


“Common sense tells us that we cannot achieve security in isolation. If, despite our own best efforts in our own territories, our neighbours, albeit advertently, provide a haven for those who would wish to do us harm, then no one can claim to be genuinely secure. Similarly, if our neighbours allow illegal unreported and unregulated fishing to go unchecked, this will ultimately damage our own potential for development.”


Mitropoulos asserted that “cooperation, both between internal government departments; and with other states on security, law enforcement and environmental protection should be not be seen as a derogation of sovereignty, but should rather be seen as multiplying the effects of sovereignty.”

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