U.K. announces new National Maritime Security Strategy


The United Kingdom has released its new national strategy for maritime security (NSMS) to set out the government’s activity to develop national and global maritime security over the next five years.

It builds on messages from the Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy and Maritime 2050 to deliver 5 strategic objectives:

  • protecting our homeland
  • responding to threats
  • ensuring prosperity
  • championing values
  • supporting a secure, resilient ocean

The NSMS sets out how the UK organises and uses its extensive national capabilities across government to identify, assess and address current maritime security challenges. It also outlines our commitments to meet those challenges now and in the future. We received input from across government, academia and industry.

The strategy captures a range of issues including:

  • working to ensure the security of our borders, ports and maritime infrastructure with devolved administrations, overseas territories and Crown Dependencies
  • creating a secure environment that limits the ability of terrorist and organised criminal groups to operate
  • monitoring chokepoints and strategic seaways to ensure the free movement of goods and trade
  • upholding and promoting compliance with the rights and obligations of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including freedom of navigation
  • championing sustainable governance of the ocean, developing maritime security approaches that enforce environmental regulations

This is the second release of the NSMS. It replaces the original strategy published in 2014 and addresses new and emerging risks facing the maritime sector over the coming years.

The NSMS is a significant document in setting out the aspects of maritime security the UK deems essential to our continued way of life. The security of our borders, maritime infrastructure and trade routes are essential to our stability and prosperity. Government’s expertise at home and abroad is discussed as well as our values in ensuring the continuance of the international order and freedom of navigation across the globe.

The NSMS should be read in conjunction with the Integrated Review and Maritime 2050. These strategies set out government’s overarching national security and international policy approach.