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Maritime Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows

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Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-71-4
January, 2012

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Maritime transport flows are the lifeblood of global trade. They are also the dominant means of transporting a range of potentially destabilizing commodities that threaten states and societies throughout the developing and developed worlds.

This SIPRI Policy Paper aims to fill an important knowledge gap by—for the first time in a public document—providing a comprehensive mapping and analysis of the ships involved in the clandestine transport of narcotics, arms and dual-use goods essential to the development of weapons of mass destruction. It also offers practical solutions to one of the most important global security challenges for policymakers, civil society and industry in the 21st century.


1. Introduction
2. Headline data: flag states
3. Headline data: vessel owners, types and age
4. The trafficking and safety nexus
5. Trends in maritime trafficking, ship registration and seizures
6. Conclusions and recommendations


Hugh Griffiths was Head of the Countering Illicit Trafficking–Mechanism Assessment Project, currently seconded to the United Nations Panel of Experts on sanctions to North Korea.