What is the relationship between pandemics and maritime security? This question was very rarely – if ever – raised in 2019. Since early 2020, however, the situation has changed significantly. Measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 had massive implications across the world. Among many other industries, shipping has been significantly affected. Lockdowns and travel restrictions, as well as changes in trading patterns, are the main examples.
Despite some alarming headlines in recent months, there are currently no indications that Covid-19 has led to higher threat levels for piracy or other typical maritime security threats. Moreover, regional or local conditions are much more important than a global pandemic to determine such threat levels.
At the same time, Covid-19 – or other pandemics in the future – may have long-term implications on maritime security. Maritime trade, for example, is vital for trade flows of all types of cargoes around the world. Effective cargo operations are necessary for economic growth and stability, yet these operations have been affected by closed borders which have hampered the flow of goods and people.
The Centre for Trust, Peace, and Social Relations (CTPSR) at Coventry University in the United Kingdom offers a fully-funded position for a PhD researcher who wants to look into these issues. The description of the PhD offers a good introduction into some of the key topics:
Existing literature on the conceptualisation of maritime security doesn’t identify pandemics as one of the key contemporary challenges that affect maritime and human security.
The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which pandemics could be considered as a non-traditional maritime security challenge by utilising the case study of the recent Covid-19 outbreak. It will examine in depth the impact of the pandemic on maritime trade and border management within the framework of the measures implemented by the governments of the UK and Ireland (or one other EU country) to limit the spread of the virus.
Further information as well as the details about the application process are available on the website of Coventry University here.