Transnational Maritime Crime and Non-traditional Security Threats


Improving International Law Regulation of Maritime Autonomous Vessels

The use of maritime autonomous vessels (MAVs) is creating regulatory and enforcement opportunities and challenges under international law. The aim of this ongoing project is to fill a critical gap in current responses in international law in focusing on the challenges posed by MAVs to international maritime security law. MAVs are increasingly useful for states in peacetime military operations, in response to transnational crime, maritime cybersecurity, and in promoting broader national security goals, but non-state actors may also use them for terrorist and transnational criminal activity. International law has not kept up with this technology and this project will redress that gap, proposing law reform to enhance global maritime security.This project is led by Natalie Klein (UNSW Sydney) with the collaboration of Douglas Guilfoyle and Rob McLaughlin (UNSW Canberra MSRG) and Saiful Karim (QUT). It is funded by the Australian Research Council (DP200102091). 

Maritime Crime

MSRG member Rob McLaughlin is a lead author (with Sofia Galani and Ian Ralby) of Maritime Crime: A Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners (2nd ed, 2019). Produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Maritime Crime Manual is a key resource for government lawyers and law-enforcement officials globally. It is both a defining work and a guide to best practice on how national authorities can conduct law-enforcement operations at sea within the framework of international law.

Other relevant publications in this field include: Douglas Guilfoyle and Rob McLaughlin, The African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights in Context: Development and Challenges (‘The Crime of Piracy’) in C. Jalloh, K. Clarke, & V. Nmehielle (eds), (Cambridge University Press 2019).