UK prioritises seabed mapping in new security strategy

UK passes law to ban Russian-linked ships from its ports
Grant Shapps

The UK has unveiled a new five-year maritime security strategy covering physical and cyber threats.

The new strategy was announced by UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps with a plan to enhance capabilities in technology, innovation, and cyber security.

The strategy also aims to leverage the UK’s seabed mapping community and tackling illegal fishing and polluting activities at sea.

The government has established the UK Centre for Seabed Mapping (UK CSM) with seabed mapping seen as providing the foundation dataset that underpins almost every sector in the maritime domain, including maritime trade, environmental and resource management, shipping operations, and national security and infrastructure within the industry.

Secretary of State Shapps said, “Mankind has better maps of the surface of the moon and Mars than of our own ocean. To ensure the UK’s maritime security is based on informed and evidence-based decisions, we must build our knowledge of this dynamic ocean frontier.

“Our new maritime security strategy paves the way for both Government and industry to provide the support needed to tackle new and emerging threats and further cement the UK’s position as a world leader in maritime security.”

Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy & External Affairs, British Ports Association said, “The new centre for seabed mapping is a huge step forward for the maritime sector. It will help everyone better understand the UK seabed and be the foundation for numerous benefits including more informed management of the marine environment.”

The strategy has five objectives: protecting the UK homeland; responding to threats; ensuring prosperity; championing values; and supporting a secure and resilient ocean.

UK Chamber of Shipping CEO, Sarah Treseder said, “A proactive maritime security strategy is essential to keeping trade routes and energy supplies secure, especially for an island nation. Today’s welcome commitments to improve collaboration, both with industry and governments across the world, will help deliver a more secure maritime environment and help provide confidence to the shipping community.”