On 15 August, the UK launched a new maritime strategy that sets out how the UK will enhance its capabilities in technology, innovation and cyber security.
The new five-year plan redefines maritime security as upholding laws, regulations and norms to deliver a free, fair and open maritime domain.
With this new approach, the government rightly recognized any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and environmental damage to our seas as a maritime security concern.
Furthermore, the country has set out new guiding principles to managing threats and risks at home and around the world.
In addition, to enhance the UK’s maritime security knowledge, the government has established the UK Centre for Seabed Mapping (UK CSM), which seeks to enable the UK’s seabed mapping sector to collaborate to collect more and better data.
“Seabed mapping provides the foundation dataset that underpins almost every sector in the maritime domain, including maritime trade, environmental and resource management, shipping operations and national security and infrastructure within the industry,” the UK officials underscored.
“Our new maritime security strategy paves the way for both government and industry to provide the support needed to tackle new and emerging threats and further cement the UK’s position as a world leader in maritime security,” UK’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said.
Working with industry and academia, 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 several strategic objectives including:
- Delivering an effective maritime security framework for the country’s borders, ports and infrastructure.
- Responding to threats: taking a whole system approach to bring knowledge to respond to new, emerging threats.
- Ensuring prosperity: ensuring the security of international shipping, the unimpeded transmission of goods, information and energy to support continued global development and our economic prosperity, etc.
The government also emphasized that the work will also continue through increased information-sharing partnerships, to increase visibility of threats to the global maritime domain.
To remind, in March this year, the UK published a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy under which the country plans to invest £4 billion (approximately $5.3 billion) in the shipbuilding industry.
The investment will also support shipyards and suppliers across the UK, delivering a pipeline of more than 150 new naval and civil vessels over the next 30 years.
The strategy also builds on the UK’s support for European defence capability as the Ukraine crisis escalates, the government stated.