Common Enemies, Common Policies? Analyzing the maritime security policies of EU nations.

Audrey Ann Faber

With the ongoing piracy off the Somali-coastline, many civilian shipping vessels have turned to private security to ensure the safe passage of their cargo and crew members. As a result, many countries throughout the European Union have or are developing policies regarding the use of private security companies on board shipping vessels as a means of security. While substantial research has gone into the study of these countries at the individual case study level, there remains little multi-national, comparative analysis of the diffusion process through which these policies were developed. These individual studies provide valuable understanding of the laws, but beg the question: what relationship do the laws have to each other in both their content and development? The diffusion literature posits that when a country develops a new law, it often takes into consideration the corresponding laws in neighboring countries, especially countries linked through the European Union. However, this theory has yet to be tested within the realm of the laws relating to private security contractors aboard civilian ships. This paper seeks to fill this gap by utilizing process tracing to conduct a systematic, cross-national analysis of 10 cases1. The potential findings of this study will provide a clearer understanding of the development of these laws, and help predict how related laws will develop in the future.