Transnational Organised crime at sea (TOCAS)
Transnational organised crime at sea has emerged as a significant concern for security actors and law enforcement. Piracy off the coast of Somalia and elsewhere, the use of the sea for trafficking of humans, drugs or arms and as a conduit for extremism, and pervasive environmental crimes, including fishery crimes, are recognised as major challenges.
Yet, the maritime dimension of organised crime remains one of the least studied areas of international security studies and criminology. Evidence that can inform political and security responses on a national, regional or international level is weak, particularly in terms of how different maritime crimes relate to and reinforce each other. Such knowledge is not only vital to protect maritime zones and safeguard maritime borders, but also to ensure the freedom of navigation and safety of shipping. In the global south, it is a vital element in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through advancing the blue economy.
The TOCAS project examines these issues in the Indo-Pacific region. In doing so it, first, brings together existing research on maritime crime from different disciplinary backgrounds and data sources to develop an evidence base for policy making. Second, it compares different regional responses to organised crime at sea, in order to outline best and promising practices for how to tackle maritime crime.
The research project is led by Professor Christian Bueger and Professor Timothy Edmunds of the University of Bristol in partnership with the SafeSeas Network of academic institutions working on maritime security, the Global Maritime Crime Programme of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Stable Seas Programme of the One Earth Future Foundation.