The regulation of the large traffic in the Suez Canal is completely outdated, and the world now needs to cooperate to protect this vital sea corridor from terrorist and cyber attacks in addition to accidents.
It was replied In an article The US “Bloomberg Site” was written by Victoria Coates, the former deputy national security advisor for the Middle East and North Africa, and Robert Greenway, the former first director for Middle East and North Africa affairs at the National Security Council.
The two writers say the world should not celebrate now after the liberation of the huge container ship “Ever Given” in the Suez Canal, the world’s busiest shipping lane, and after the ship closed it for a week at a cost of $ 10 billion a day.
The biggest weakness
They mentioned that at present, the channel’s biggest weakness is in the cyberspace, as the channel’s information technology and communications engineering, which are equivalent to air traffic control systems, are very weak.
The two writers called for considering the “Evergiven” incident as a cry to awaken the world to the development of the “crumbling” security structure of the canal to the level of the twenty-first century and to ensure the continuation of its historical role as a vital corridor between Europe, Africa and Asia.
They said that while proposals for a physical upgrade of the Suez Canal are being submitted, the less discussed issue is that the current legal structure governing the canal is woefully old, and new mechanisms are needed to deal with modern ships and potential threats.
They noted that the Constantinople Convention governing traffic in the canal has been in effect since 1888 on the grounds that the canal is a collective benefit, and therefore it should simply remain open to all ships that are properly flagged and insured, regardless of origin.
They suggested using more modern powers already in place that would allow the United States and Egypt to lead a new effort to take advantage of the collective strength of their partners and allies to secure the Suez Canal against threats ranging from “terrorism” to cyber attacks and even occasional blockages.
One of those powers, they clarified, is the IMO Code, which can be applied in conjunction with regulations such as United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1772 and 1816.
These decisions, which were issued in response to the growing threat of piracy, will be applicable in this case, as they allow international cooperation for collective security in the region.
They said that the United States could also help by expanding the scope of building international maritime security, known as the “Joint Guarding Task Force,” where a task force was formed in July 2019 to defend against piracy and “terrorism” in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb and their surroundings. This should now include the Suez Canal area in coordination with the Egyptian army (which secures the area) and the Suez Canal Authority (which oversees logistics and payment), while welcoming the participation of all countries interested in preserving maritime trade routes.
New technology from America and Israel
If this defensive operation is expanded, they added, it will include ships on the sea surface and airborne surveillance, as well as command, control and supportive communications needed to integrate the network. The task force could also include integrating all intelligence and threat assessments from participating countries that would enable them to anticipate, defend and respond to incidents or security incidents when required, and gather material assets and resources for its members to manage crises or unrest and enable the channel to quickly return to work. And they indicated that perhaps if such a system had existed, it would reduce the period of closure of the channel by “Evergiven” for days.
They also clarified that America and Israel – in particular – can contribute with new technology and ensure that the system is properly protected and that what is needed to protect it from breakdowns or sabotage, and such steps will not only protect vital maritime trade during the global recovery from the epidemic, but also ensure the protection of marine communication cables Of equal vital importance and located in the same location of the Suez Canal.