Maritime security is a broad concept that spans several domains. Traditionally it has focused on defence, state-based military threats, and the protection of national interests and sovereignty at sea.
Less attention has been paid to some of the wider aspects of maritime security that have less direct, but still significant, effects. Maritime safety is critical across all aspects of seafaring and includes regulation of shipping, port security, the safety of seafarers, search and rescue, and protection of the marine environment.
In the Pacific, maritime safety is arguably the most neglected aspect of maritime security. The region has experienced the highest per capita fatality rate in the world from maritime incidents in recent years. Ageing, poorly maintained ferries combined with overcrowding and ineffective safety and communications equipment have contributed to several serious maritime accidents. Small vessels used by coastal artisanal fishers for fishing and local transport are routinely swamped in rough weather.
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