Law and Ergonomics in Maritime Security

University dissertation from Department of Design Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: Concerns over the threats of terrorism, piracy, and armed robbery against ships resulted in a number of International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s including, inter alia, the establishment of an anti-piracy program, the development of guidelines for ship security, and the adoption of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention), 1988. The September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 elevated security concerns to its highest levels. The fear that a ship could readily be transformed by terrorists from a medium of transport to a weapon of mass destruction led to negotiations in 2002 that resulted in the adoption of security amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, and the concomitant International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. These instruments, together with Articles 100-107 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982, and the SUA Convention, comprise the international legal framework for maritime security. The thesis, comprising six introductory chapters plus six appended papers, intends to contribute to knowledge in the domain of maritime security by pursuing the following general objectives: a critical analysis of the international legal framework for maritime security; the development of a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of maritime security; and the development of an analytical tool for maritime security incidents. The approach adopted in this doctoral thesis is primarily qualitative. The methods were selected based on their usability in both the law and ergonomics disciplines. The research objectives mainly called for classical or pure legal analysis. This approach involved examining each element of the relevant legal instrument against the benchmark of established legal principles. This approach is similar to the method of heuristic analysis employed in ergonomics where researchers use their subjective judgment to decide whether a device is usable, error inducing, safe, and generally well designed. Aside from published academic literature, the thesis consulted primary sources such as relevant international conventions, travaux préparatoires, national legislation, and decided cases. Additionally, the respondent was in attendance as an observer at key IMO meetings on maritime security. The results of the analyses conducted in the appended papers showed that the components of the international legal framework for maritime security are divided between two main categories, criminal and regulatory, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses identified in the different studies relate to the inter-relationship between the different components of the international legal framework for maritime security, the definition or identification of the crime, and other inadequacies inherent in the different instruments. Other weaknesses relate to the potential negative effects of the ISPS Code in terms of human performance and legal liability. The preliminary results of a pilot study in an ongoing project that analyzes past maritime security incidents using graphic representation models were also presented in the thesis. The study identified some of the active and latent conditions that allow maritime security incidents to occur and determined the feasibility of adapting a risk management tool (the Accident Map or ?AcciMap?) for application in maritime security management. The resultant Security Incident Map (SecInciMap) showed potential in deriving lessons from past maritime security incidents that could assist policymakers in developing strategies to prevent or deter unlawful violent acts against shipping, or to mitigate the negative effects should such acts occur. The critical analysis of the international legal framework for maritime security presented in the thesis was conducted not only to provide an overall understanding of this framework, but also to afford an insight into the role and nature of each of its principal components. In the thesis was also presented a cross-disciplinary approach that proposed the study of the international legal framework for maritime security from an ergonomics perspective. Law and ergonomics by no means comprise the complete catalogue of disciplines that are optimally covered in a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of maritime security. However, there is no doubt that the legal framework clearly serves an important function in the socio-technical system and is highly influential in the design of work systems and organizations. The thesis concludes that the potential synergy between law and ergonomics, evident in the analytical tools examined and developed in the thesis, needs to be developed further. In addition, it identifies a number of issues for further study that can contribute to achieving the objective of enhanced security at sea.

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