The UK Government has launched a new maritime strategy with a focus on enhanced seabed mapping and tackling security threats.
Unveiling the five-year strategy, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out the guiding principles for the UK government’s approach to managing threats and risks at home and around the world, including leveraging the UK’s world-leading seabed mapping community and tackling illegal fishing and polluting activities at sea.
The new strategy redefines maritime security as upholding laws, regulations and norms to deliver a free, fair and open maritime domain.
With this approach, the government said it will recognise any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and environmental damage to its seas as a maritime security concern.
The government also established the UK Centre for Seabed Mapping (UK CSM), which seeks will utilise data collection and sharing for the UK’s maritime industry. The UK CSM has also been registered as a UK government voluntary commitment to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
Secretaries of State from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Transport (DfT), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will focus on five strategic objectives:
- Delivering the world’s most effective maritime security framework for the UK’s borders, ports and infrastructure.
- Taking a whole system approach to bring world-leading capabilities and expertise to bear to respond to new, emerging threats.
- Ensuring the security of international shipping, the unimpeded transmission of goods, information and energy to support continued global development and our economic prosperity.
- Championing global maritime security underpinned by freedom of navigation and the international order.
- Tackling security threats and breaches of regulations that impact on a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically-diverse maritime environment.
UK Chamber of Shipping CEO, Sarah Treseder said: “A proactive maritime security strategy is essential to keeping trade routes and energy supplies secure, especially for an island nation.
“Today’s welcome commitments to improve collaboration, both with industry and governments across the world, will help deliver a more secure maritime environment and help provide confidence to the shipping community.”
Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy and External Affairs, British Ports Association said: “UK ports work closely with government and law enforcement to facilitate nearly half a billion tonnes of trade and tens of millions of passengers every year, whilst at the same time bearing down on threats to our collective safety and security.
“We look forward to strengthening that relationship as we help to deliver on these strategic objectives.”
In March the UK Government has launched new unit, UK SHORE, to tackle shipping emissions and advance the UK towards sustainable shipping.