Soldiers at Sea: The Legality and Policy Implications of Using Military Security Teams to Combat Piracy
42 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2011 Last revised: 4 Mar 2013
Date Written: September 22, 2011
Maritime piracy is a critical challenge to global security. Piracy threatens billions of dollars worth of commerce each year, puts the lives and livelihoods of thousands of mariners at risk, and causes untold harm to pirate-controlled communities. To combat this threat, the international community has deployed military and criminal justice resources. But the present strategy is suboptimal. Some have argued that the private sector should play a leading role in antipiracy efforts through armed security contractors or fleets of armed protection vessels. Such a drastic expansion of the role of private actors, though, is inconsistent with the decidedly governmental obligation to ensure freedom of the seas. Consistent with the obligation for a public solution, this Article recommends that short-term antipiracy strategies be refocused towards the widespread deployment of military security teams (MSTs) onboard merchant vessels. The use of MSTs is well grounded in historical practice and international law. In addition to building the basic legal foundation for the deployment of MSTs, this Article specifically analyzes from legal and policy perspectives the precise means by which this strategy could be implemented.
Keywords: Maritime Law, National Security Law, Public Policy, Piracy, International Law
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