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The Australian National University

Public seminar

Crime on the high seas: Challenges for Australia’s maritime security

Speakers: Associate Professor Sarah Percy
Date: Monday 26 May 2015
Time: 10:30am - 12 noon
Venue: Brindabella Theatre, Crawford Building #132, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU
Registration: Register here

Sarah PercyAustralia’s maritime security is of paramount importance given the significance of international trade and Australia’s geographical realities. However, effective policy has been hampered by the complexities of responding to maritime security threats. In this seminar, Associate Professor Sarah Percy will argue that many of the maritime security threats facing Australia are linked hybrid criminal-security threats. Piracy, smuggling of people, weapons and drugs, and illegal, unauthorized and underreported fishing (IUU fishing) are all criminal activities that have security implications for Australia.

However, their unusual character poses a number of challenges. First, the Royal Australian Navy is the primary mode of dealing with many of these threats, and navies do not have expert capacity in crime control. Second, these threats are all interlinked, which makes tackling them challenging. Third, the maritime space means that all of these threats pose different challenges than similar criminal activities on land. Fourth, these activities are interlinked, which makes them difficult to control. Fifth, evidence from other forms of organised crime demonstrates significant difficulties for control efforts. Associate Professor Percy will discuss what the implications of these maritime security challenges and their attendant difficulties are for Australia, and what might be done to make control more effective.

Sarah Percy is an Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Western Australia (UWA). She is the Course Director of the MA International Relations, MA International Development, and Joint MA in International Relations and International Law. She is also a Non Resident Fellow of the Australian Sea Power Centre and a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Programme on the Changing Character of War (OPCCW). Before coming to UWA, Associate Professor Percy was a University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in International Relations at Merton College, Oxford; a Research Associate in the OPCCW; and a Lecturer in Defense Studies at King’s College London. In this last role, she taught senior and mid-career military officers at the Joint Services Staff and Command College.

Associate Professor Percy was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, and completed a BA at Queen’s University before embarking on a M.Phil and D.Phil at the University of Oxford (Balliol College), where she was a Commonwealth Scholar. Her research focuses on unconventional combatants (particularly private military and security companies, and mercenaries) and unconventional security threats (particularly maritime crime and piracy). She has presented on these topics to a range of academic audiences, as well as to the United Nations, the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal United Services Institute (London) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). Her research on piracy was featured in the production notes of the film Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.


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