Maritime Security in the Bay of Bengal

Stable Seas: Bay of Bengal

Release Date: March 16, 2020
Author(s):
Jay Benson - Stable Seas, Curtis Bell - Stable Seas, Gayathri Iyer - Observer Research Foundation, Lydelle Joubert - Stable Seas, Maisie Pigeon - Stable Seas, M J Rahman - World Fish, Asyura Salleh - Stable Seas, Michael Van Ginkel - Stable Seas, M A Wahab - World Fish
Topic:
Publication Type: Report

Overview

This report examines maritime security and governance in the Bay of Bengal across nine issue areas including the blue economy, coastal welfare, rule of law, piracy and armed robbery, illicit trades, maritime mixed migration, fisheries, maritime enforcement capacity, and international cooperation. The report looks at progress being made across these issue areas as well as the challenges that remain to sustainable maritime security in the region. It also suggests several areas of policy prioritization that could have positive impacts across issue areas and help establish a self-reinforcing, positive cycle of maritime security in the Bay of Bengal.

Key Findings

  • Maritime security issues in the Bay of Bengal are deeply interconnected. Too often these issues are discussed in isolation. Only by approaching maritime security with a comprehensive view of the ways in which these issues impact each other can sustainable solutions be developed. 
  • Despite significant remaining challenges, regional actors have made immense progress on improving coastal welfare, developing the blue economy, building capable maritime enforcement entities, and strengthening mechanisms for international and regional maritime cooperation. 
  • In order to maximize the impact of limited resources, individual states and regional organizations should prioritize a few key points of entry which can generate broad progress and catalyze this self-reinforcing cycle. Some suggested areas of policy prioritization include: port security and governance, maritime domain awareness, stateless communities, and greater resourcing for regional organizations addressing shared maritime challenges.