Issues, Challenges and National Policies
Comparative Perspectives on Transportation Security series
Edited by Khalid Bichou, Joseph S. Szyliowicz and Luca Zamparini
The security of maritime transport and ports has long been a concern to governments, traders and industry, especially at times of wars and crises. However, it was not until the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 that the international shipping community formally recognized maritime security as an issue for inclusion in the international legal and regulatory frameworks that govern shipping and port operations. Until then, maritime security essentially involved state actions against piracy, an activity with a long and often romanticized history, and traditional naval warfare though the issue of maritime safety that had emerged as a matter of international concern. The first Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) was adopted in 1914 following the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912 on her maiden voyage to New York and was modified on various occasions. With the establishment of the United Nations in 1948, it became possible to achieve a long-standing goal, the creation of an international organization devoted to ensuring maritime safety and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention was finally ratified in 1958, ten years after its formal establishment. Various international rules and regulations were subsequently adopted in order to enhance the safety of ships and their crews. The issue of maritime security, however, did not receive the same level of attention because the Achille Lauro incident did not mark the beginning of a series of sustained attacks against ships, perhaps because the terrorists' favourite target remained aviation.