Sovereign Control and Ocean Governance in the Regulation of Maritime Private Policing

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In recent decades, new public-private policing assemblages everywhere have constituted new forms of authority and political order in the contemporary world. Part of a broader project exploring the politics of multilateral policing in maritime space, this article examines the complex of regulatory practices governing maritime security companies in the Western Indian Ocean. While literature on private maritime security has largely focused on the regulatory mechanisms of a select few individual flag states, this article investigates how flags of convenience, international organisations and the commercial maritime community have interacted to produce a regulatory system that entrenches distinct forms of private power in multilateral policing governance on the high seas. While overwhelmingly, the regulation of private security on land has served to anchor multilateral policing in particular structures of sovereign authority and/or public good, this article argues that the assemblage of regulatory practices in the High Risk Area (HRA) is mutually constitutive of distinct forms of public-private relations and social ordering at sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-353
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • Piracy
  • Private Security
  • Ocean Governance
  • Regulation


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