Jun 142012

The notion of maritime security encloses different elements, ranging from freedom of navigation, to the ability of countering threats posed by piracy, terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking of human beings and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Such a global matter has led to the creation of specific international instruments, in the form treaties, initiatives and soft law instruments, attempting to deal with the multifaceted reality of these challenges. The most notable achievements in this area are the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) and its protocol. The GCC and its neighbouring countries have signed and ratified the former, with the exception of the United Arab Emirates and Iran that have only signed and not yet ratified it.

The current developments in maritime security concern in a specific manner the Gulf region. In fact, the threats of piracy, drug trafficking and to some extent trafficking of human beings have strong repercussions in the Gulf region, including search and rescue at sea. Alongside the aforementioned non-state actor threats, there are risks tied with state issues, in particular around the Strait of Hormuz and the controversy over Abu Mousa between the United Arab Emirates and Iran. Law of the sea issues have an impact over the delimitation of the continental shelf and the establishment/delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

The research will explore ways to enhance the cooperation between the EU and the GCC in the framework of the relevant legal instruments. In particular, a fruitful exchange of views on maritime security issues will be undertaken with a view to advancing policies on both sides.