Assessment of Threats Related to Maritime Crimes in the Arctic

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-9-104-111

A. Todorov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 


Transnational crimes committed in the maritime domain pose a real threat to international security today. Climate change and opening of shipping routes in the Arctic actualize the need to assess this type of security threats for the polar region. While the official Arctic strategies of the five coastal states – Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the USA, – in general, acknowledge threats to maritime security stemming from nonstate organized criminal actors, there is neither system-based understanding of these threats, differentiated approach to assessing specific types of potential maritime criminal activities, nor developing practical measures aimed at their prevention and suppression. Basing on the analysis of different maritime crimes, it seems reasonable to ascertain a generally low probability of their large-scale emergence in the Arctic in the nearest future. Main reasons for that are severe climate conditions, as well as economic and political stability of the region. However, the apparent and anticipated increase of Arctic shipping and development of new types of economic activities, such as tourism, can lead to increased risks related to transnational maritime criminal activity in the Arctic. In this regard, to date, the most real threat is posed by such crimes as terroristic attacks on cruise ships, illegal transportation of drugs and weapons using the main Arctic marine routes, illegal migration. It is obvious that the Arctic coastal states lack sufficient resources to efficiently address the threats related to transnational maritime crimes. In this context, special focus should be made on enhancing regional interstate cooperation in the field. Taking into account that the only regional mechanism responsible for enhancing coordination of national bodies regarding security-related issues is the Arctic Coast Guard Forum, it would be reasonable to endow this institution with the competence to develop joint measures for the suppression of potential maritime criminal activities in the Arctic. This could be made through development of a pan-Arctic legally binding agreement that would specify practical measures stipulated by other international agreements in the field of suppressing certain types of maritime crimes. 


Arctic, maritime security, piracy, maritime terrorism, drug-trafficking by sea, international security, Arctic Coast Guard Forum 


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For citation:
Todorov A. Assessment of Threats Related to Maritime Crimes in the Arctic. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2019, vol. 63, No 9, pp. 104-111.

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