19-22 May 2008

NATO workshop addresses
maritime piracy threats

New threats of piracy and concerns about potential maritime terrorist require increased collaborative efforts, according to a group of international experts at a workshop sponsored by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme on 19-22 May 2008 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Today, more than 80% of world trade is conducted by sea, and more than 46,000 large vessels and some 4,000 major ports make up the global maritime transport system. Because ports and harbours are subject to less stringent security controls than airports nowadays, it is important to consider the ties between piracy and maritime terrorism—an issue which is far from clear.

The NATO SPS workshop was organised by EuroCrime, a non-profit research institute based in Italy, in collaboration with the Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre (TRACCC) and the Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Impresa.  The purpose was to address the need for research and analysis at an international level on the topics of maritime piracy and terrorism. It also underlined the necessity for a real dialogue among law enforcement agencies, through comparing data, sharing case studies, examining good practices, presenting solutions and proposals, and creating links and partnerships.

The main themes addressed were:

  • information-sharing and cooperation among shipping companies, private actors, maritime, governmental and international authorities in order to build a constructive dialogue;
  • the use of new technologies and weapons in response to piracy when military vessels are involved;
  • the presence of NATO and international Task Forces; and
  • training and the role of crews during attacks.