Coastline borders present huge security challenges for the border community. With dramatically varied terrain from mountains and cliffs to beaches and swamps. There are estimated to be 1.16 million kilometres of extended coastline globally, with multiple million lonely bays, inlets, estuaries and Islands that can all be exploited by terrorists, illegal migrants, drug and arms smugglers, human traffickers and organised crime.
The number of ways bad actors can penetrate our borders is also increasing. In addition to the more commonly used methods of smuggling people, drugs and contraband, such as commercial shipping, ferries, pleasure craft, speedboats and light aircraft. In the US in particular, there has been an increase in the numbers of submersibles and semi-submersibles being used to smuggle drugs. Indeed, it was recently reported that the first ‘detected’ drug carrying submersible has reached Europe from South America. Making submersibles not just a regional problem, but a global border threat.
Also, below the surface, swimmers and scuba divers, with or without diver propulsion vehicles, remain a constant threat, and increasingly capable commercially available unmanned underwater vehicles are a rapidly emerging threat to the integrity of our borders.
And last but not least, drones are probably the most significant emerging threat. Cheap, easy to operate, readily available and with ever greater payload capacity, drones are a major concern going forward.
Whether it is securing littoral borders against terrorists, people traffickers or smugglers, the challenge is truly three dimensional!