The NSMS describes the sea as the “lifeblood” of the UK economy, which relies on shipping for 90% of its trade, 2% of GDP and one in every 50 jobs. The document sets out the objectives of the government, to “Understand, Influence, Prevent, Protect and Respond”.
Although the NSMS indicated that the GBP90bn ($151.5bn) of UK maritime trade which transits the Horn of Africa every year must be protected, threats to a “secure international maritime domain”, extended beyond piracy’s costs of GBP12bn a year to the global economy.
Other problems included territorial disputes in the South China Sea; the inability of coastal states to effectively police their waters; and even “potential new maritime security threats” in the Arctic regions.
UK Chamber ceo Guy Platten described piracy as “still a major threat to the safety of seafarers” citing cases in Gulf of Guinea, West Africa, “where it is increasing. Reducing these risks must be a priority.
“The strategy… demonstrates the UK’s approach to addressing some of the root causes of piracy in other parts of the world, including capacity building on land.
“Increasing awareness and finding solutions for the complex problems of maritime security are crucial. The NSMS will allow industry to share its specialist knowledge across government to develop better joint responses to threats and we look forward to continuing this work together.”