Challenging Sovereignty and State Control of Violence at Sea? The Operations of Private Anti-Piracy Security Providers

Resistance and Change in World Politics pp 79-108

Part of the Global Issues book series (GLOISS)

  • Carolin Liss
  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)Frankfurt am MainGermany


Sovereignty and state monopoly on the use of force are among the defining characteristics of the nation-state. Since the end of the Cold War, however, non-state actors—notably private military and security companies (PMSCs)—have once again begun to play a significant role in national and international security governance. PMSCs are also active at sea, not least protecting vessels against pirate attacks. Although there was an initial reluctance to entrust the protection of merchant ships to PMSCs, many states have now introduced regulations that provide for, or at least tolerate, their use. State failure to protect ships and crews and the strategic alliance-building by PMSCs helped them to secure a place in maritime security governance.

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