“The widespread reliance on private military companies (PMSCs) as providers of vessel protection stands in glaring contrast with the long-standing practice of discouraging the presence of weapons onboard civilian ships and states’ commitment to uphold and enforce a monopoly of violence. For centuries, the most powerful states in the international system sought to limit private violence on land and at sea alike, marginalising the use of actors like mercenaries and privateers as dangerous, unlawful aberrations. Why have countries worldwide departed from such norms and turned to PMSCs to protect ships from pirates operating in the Gulf Aden and Western Indian Ocean? This chapter seeks to answer this question by examining the private security policies of the states hosting the three largest shipping registries worldwide: Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands.”
Stefano Ruzza (T.wai & University of Torino) and Eugenio Cusumano (Leiden University) are authors of the essay “The Privatisation of Maritime Security: Implications for International Security” in the new Routledge Handbook of Maritime Security (July 2022).