Maritime Security Challenges in Africa: Piracy, Armed Robbery, Smuggling, Kidnapping, and Terrorism

Sabella Abidde's picture
Call for Papers
March 2, 2023 to November 30, 2023
Alabama, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Atlantic History / Studies, Maritime History / Studies, Political Science, Area Studies

Maritime Security Challenges in Africa: Piracy, Armed Robbery, Smuggling, Kidnapping, and Terrorism

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde, PhD

Maritime insecurity is generally and mostly associated with piracy in the open oceans. But it is more than that. It refers to extralegal legal activities like pollution, illegal fishing, kidnapping, human trafficking, smuggling, terrorism and so forth that takes place not only in the world’s oceans but also in regional seas, territorial waters, rivers, and ports. The main purpose of this edited volume, therefore, is to examine the occurrence and repercussions of these activities on Africa's oceans and seas – and how these scourges are combated.

The African continent is surrounded by five bodies of water: the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez and the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean – all of which have historical significance to the continent and the rest of the world more so in terms of trading, forced and voluntary migration, the shipping industry, and piracy. In recent decades, nation-states have been more concerned with the state of maritime security on these waters. And while there is no universally acceptable definition of maritime security, it is broadly understood to include activities that threaten or are likely to jeopardize nations' national security, the shipping industry, and the safety of humans and the environment. As a result, governments and institutions strive to maintain freedom of the seas, facilitate commercial activities, and maintain order and good governance in the oceans and waterways of the world.

In its strictest understanding, maritime security refers to the “protection of vessels both internally and externally” from extralegal activities such as armed robbery, trafficking of humans and goods, terrorism, and piracy. While these activities have been part of and or known to the maritime industry for millenniums, it was not until the 1990s that many governments and institutions around the world began to pay closer attention to illegalities such as terrorism. The USS Cole bombing by the terrorist group al-Qaeda on October 12, 2000, and the follow-up attack on September 11, 2001, for instance, were watershed moments in this regard.

More troubling than ocean-based terrorism is the issue of piracy which was bought to the fore after a succession of high-profile piracies off the coast of Somalia in the early 2000s. Somalia was an unusual case because several decades of searing poverty, political and economic exclusion, authoritarianism, religious and ethnic conflict, and power struggles, gave rise to internal and cross-border attritions and ultimately to ethnonationalism and ethnoregionalism, to piracy, terrorism, and other extrajudicial phenomena. Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire, are the other countries with a high incidence of piracy and kidnapping on the continent according to the International Maritime Bureau (IBM) which has been keeping records for almost three decades. IBM recently reported that while piracy, kidnapping, and other forms of maritime insecurity are down, there are still troubling trends in the Gulf of Guinea.

While many countries have measures in place to combat maritime insecurity, the more effective measures seem to be by inter-governmental organizations. For instance, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) provides support on matters relating to the implementation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS); The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code); and The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988 (SUA Convention, including the 1988 and 2005 Protocols). And the United Nations (UN) has an international maritime law called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Considering the aforesaid, scholars, commentators, public intellectuals, and retired members of the security services and maritime industry are encouraged to submit abstracts on the topics listed below. They could also suggest/write on other topics if the subject matter falls within the overall thrust of our book:


  1. Maritime Security: A History
  2. Theoretical approaches to maritime security
  3. The activities of the EU and NATO
  4. Domestic and International Laws and Conventions


  1. Pirate attacks
  2. Goods, drug, and weapon smuggling
  3. Trafficking in humans
  4. Maritime terrorism


  1. Pirates and piracy (Somalia then and now)
  2. Maritime terrorism
  3. Disruption in traffic flow
  4. Goods, drug, and weapon smuggling


  1. Illegal oil-bunkering (the situation in Nigeria)
  2. Armed robbery at sea
  3. Kidnapping and trafficking of humans
  4. Drugs and weapons smuggling


  • Please submit a 300-350-word abstract plus a 150-250-word biography (About the

Author) on or before March 30, 2023.

  • You will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of your abstract by April 10, 2023.
  • The first draft of your chapter, 7500-8500 words, is due on September 30, 2023. The second draft would be due on October 30, 2023.
  • For citation/formatting, please adhere to the APA Format (6th edition). Please send your abstract/queries to:



Sabella Abidde is a professor of political science and a member of the graduate faculty at Alabama State University Montgomery. He is an alumnus of Saint Cloud State University Minnesota; Mankato State University, Minnesota; University of Oklahoma, Norman; and Howard University Washington DC. His scholarship includes published volumes on Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He is the editor/co-editor of Human Trafficking in Africa: New Paradigms, New Perspectives (Springer, 2021); Xenophobia, Nativism and Pan-Africanism in 21st Century Africa: History, Concepts, Practice and Case Study (Springer, 2021); and Africans and the Exiled Life: Migration, Culture, and Globalization (Lexington Books, 2018). Dr. Abidde is a member of the Association of Global South Studies (AGSS); the African Studies and Research Forum (ASRF); and the American Association for Chinese Studies (AACS). He is also the editor of two Book Series: The African Governance, Development, and Leadership Series (Lexington Books); and Africa-East Asia International Relations Series (Springer Nature).

Contact Info: 

Department of History and Political Science
Alabama State University Montgomery, Alabama 36104

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