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The Key Threats to International trade

Since the early 2000s Maritime Security has been an increasingly pertinent topic for the International Security community. This arose from the growing concerns of terrorist attacks in a post 9/11 world and the rise of modern day Piracy off the shores of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden and wider Indian Ocean. In addition to Piracy and Terrorism there are further security threats to the International Maritime System and the combination of these have a critical impact on our international trading systems. In Nigeria alone the equivalent of around 100,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen every day, with a market value of between £2 billion to £5 billion each year.

Maritime Trading is a complex ecosystem which is reliant on a number of moving parts for the full Supply Chain Infrastructure and network. This includes the Manufacturers, transportation companies, Freight Agents, ports and port facilities, shipping companies and vessels. It’s this complexity to the movement of goods across international waters that leads to a fragility of the system and needs to be protected by Maritime Security to reduce any disruption to our Globalised Markets. A stable Maritime domain is an essential part to our capitalist markets and global economy with over 90% of all trade being transported by sea.

Defence Unlimited International are taking a proactive approach to tackling these key Maritime Security Threats

Piracy has been a big focus in the past for Maritime Security and the numbers of incidents had significantly dropped by 2016. However the number of incidents increased again in 2017 and it is clear this threat needs to be continually targeted in order to attempt to eradicate it. Currently the Gulf of Guinea and coastal areas of Nigeria are hotspots for Piracy attacks and increased co-operation and information sharing between Vessel, Coastal and Security Services will be key to reducing the threat. DEFENCE Unlimited International offers a comprehensive Maritime Security Consultancy that draws upon its experience in military, marine and oil & gas sectors to advise and help tackle Piracy.

The number of Kidnappings and violent attacks connected to piracy have also been on the rise and the threat of these attacks have a huge impact on crew member’s wellbeing and safety as well as significant cost and disruption to shipping companies. Reducing Violence on the seas needs significant investment from governmental authorities but this is lacking in many high risk areas and the shipping industry are taking matters into their own hands by employing security teams with armed guards. DEFENCE Unlimited International provide invaluable assistance and support to the Maritime Trading Ecosystem and has the expertise and resources to provide security measures for all waterborne situations including vulnerability assessments for shipping and ocean carriers , ports and rigs/platforms.

The Prohibited importation and exportation of goods is also identified as a Risk to Maritime security by the International Maritime Organisation. The IMO works closely with other international organisations and the UN on matters concerning drug smuggling on board ships. There is a clear link between illicit trade and other types of crime in the maritime sector such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption, bribery and money laundering. All countries and industries are impacted by these Security threats. Defence Unlimited International have the capability to assist Ports in risk and threat assessments to help reduce this security threat.

Technology developments have also introduced further threat to Maritime Security. The threat of Cyber-attacks across all industries have become a reality over the last 10 years and the Maritime sector is no different. Due to legacy, unsecure systems, across a multitude of platforms, Vessels are left open to attack. Cyber security experts have recently demonstrating how easy it is to hijack a Ships navigational system and fool the GPS. The legislation and guidelines in this area are minimal at this stage and this represents a new threat to Maritime Security. This threat is amplified by the complexity of the industry and makes the threats particularly challenging to address.

Defence Unlimited International (, along with Global Intel Source ( are taking a proactive approach to tackling these key Maritime Security Threats and believe that proper planning can mitigate most of these challenges. Our Maritime Security Services support a wide variety of Maritime Domain activities including: Risk Analysis and Threat assessment for ports, shipping companies an Vessels, Security and emergency programme development, Security Processes and Procedure development, On Board Security teams and Consultants, Counter Piracy Audits and Hardening, Maritime Intelligence and Security Training for security and non-security personnel.


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