Maritime Counterproliferation Operations and the Rule of Law

by Craig H. Allen

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Abortion in the United States

June 2007


Pages 272
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/Conflict

Allen examines the maritime counterproliferation activities of nations participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative, as set out in their Statement of Interdiction Principles. He explains the framework for conducting maritime interception activities, examines the importance of intelligence to PSI operations, and assesses the legal issues raised by those operations.

The threat of WMD use by terrorist groups and rogue regimes has added new urgency to global security discussions. Responses to the dangers posed by WMD include the nonproliferation regime, safeguards for WMD materials while in transit, export controls, treaties on terrorism, Security Council resolutions, and the new Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.
The existing nonproliferation regime will never, by itself, provide an adequate level of security. As a result, risk management strategies must include layered counterproliferation activities and consequence management. Counterproliferation measures may include maritime interdictions. The Proliferation Security Initiative, a cooperative undertaking launched in 2003, provides a framework for those interdictions. The framework was formalized in the Statement of Interdiction Principles.

After providing an overview of the threats posed by WMD proliferation, this book surveys the nonproliferation regime and counterproliferation measures states have adopted to supplement it. It next provides an overview of maritime interception operations and the intelligence issues surrounding them, before turning to the laws governing such operations. It then examines each of the actions described in the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles to assess their compliance with applicable laws. Finally, it looks at the laws that establish the responsibility of states for taking unwarranted counterproliferation actions against vessels.



"In free societies and global market economies, terrorism has its choice of carriers. Although the public tends to focus on air transport, seagoing craft are especially vulnerable in terms of security. Allen, who is also a master mariner and academic maritime journalist, examines the risks of terrorism associated with the sea, including transport of personnel and materiel such as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). He describes how deadly cargoes are developed by undeterrable or irrational enemies, security policies and practices now in place such as the WMD nonproliferation regime, multilateral counter-proliferation initiatives, the role of information and intelligence, the conduct of maritime counter-terrorism security operations, applicable international laws, preserving the rule of law in interceptions and boarding, and the compensation of the innocent in terms of state responsibility and liability."—Reference & Research Book News

"Some of the strengths of this book are the concise and readable introduction to the non-proliferation multilateral treaty regime (chapter 3); the brief notes on the evolution and responses to the PSI (chapter four); and the operational reality regarding intelligence in maritime counterproliferation operations (chapter five). […] For ocean lawyers or those interested in maritime security matters, Allen's contribution to the literature is both accessible and important."—International Journal of Maritime History

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