Maritime Security & Terrorism in the Mediterranean

Maritime Security & Terrorism in the Mediterranean

15 April 2021

Since 2015, ISIL/Da’esh fighters have been traveling or returning to Europe, Southeast Asia, and other locations. As counterterrorism efforts continue to shift from the battlefield, civilian tools are playing a larger role in countering these evolving terrorist threats. Efforts to increase the use of watchlists, biometrics, and traveler data for border screening have so far focused primarily on air and land points of entry. In some cases, this has caused terrorists to adjust their travel patterns and shift their attention to the maritime sector. In certain countries or regions, terrorists could exploit the maritime sector to move people or to conduct strikes.

Regional Workshop on Challenges and Good Practices
This webinar focused on the Mediterranean region and was the last in a series of workshops exploring specific challenges and good practices in different regions of the world. A very large and engaged group of participants and panelists from the region analyzed current realities, including challenges and threats, concerning maritime security and terrorist travel in the Mediterranean. They considered a variety of national and/or regional policies, protocols, procedures, and practices. Participants also had the opportunity to share experiences, responses, and lessons learned with respect to operational, policy, and legal aspects of countering maritime terrorist travel.

The Maritime Security and Terrorist Travel Initiative addresses potential vulnerabilities of the maritime sector to prevent and interdict terrorist movement, or associated smuggling or trafficking. As the lead for this GCTF Initiative, the United States, under the auspices of the Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) Working Group, convened this series of regional workshops to develop an addendum to the New York Memorandum on Good Practices for Interdicting Terrorist Travel. The addendum will include additional recommended good practices for government and private sector partners to use to address and prevent potential terrorist misuse of the maritime sector. It aims to complement existing INTERPOL exercises in the Mediterranean basin and Southeast Asia, as well as other international efforts. The GCTF invited a wide range of stakeholders to participate in the webinars, including national and local governments, international organizations, and private industry.