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CAC0010.1177/0010836716652425Cooperation and ConflictAarstad


Cooperation and Conflict

Who governs Norwegian

2017, Vol. 52(2) 261279
The Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permissions:
maritime security? Public
DOI: 10.1177/0010836716652425
facilitation of private security

in a fragmented security

sne Kalland Aarstad

This article analyses the Norwegian governance of maritime security that surrounds the
accommodation of armed private security provision on board Norwegian-registered ships,
and questions the role of Norwegian public authorities. In 2011, the Norwegian government
introduced a new legal framework that explicitly permitted the use of armed private security
for ships transiting piracy-prone waters. Through an in-depth examination of the agenda
setting, implementation and evaluation phases of the new policy, the article analyses the roles
and responsibilities performed by the involved actors. Comparing the empirical case study
of Norway with the governance literature, it is argued that public actors neither steer nor
row, rather they function as facilitators in and for a governance arrangement that is essentially
industry-driven in character. This facilitating role encompasses elements of both acceptance
and contribution, where a low degree of public control was accepted in return for a flexible
and low-cost/risk scheme against piracy. As such, the facilitating role does not support
the view that contemporary security governance is a zero-sum game between public and private
actors. Instead, the facilitating capacities of public authorities are seen as their competitive
advantage in an increasingly fragmented security environment. This article contends that
although maritime governance inhabits peculiarities related to both the shipping industrys
global competitive character and the maritime domains geographical distance from public
authorities, the Norwegian governance of maritime security is nevertheless deeply embedded
in global governance structures. This underscores the need to address the maritime domain
as constitutive of global politics and, in turn, treat the facilitating argument developed here as
potentially relevant for the broader governance literature.

Global shipping, governance, maritime security, Norwegian shipping, private security,
public/private distinction

Corresponding author:
sne Kalland Aarstad, Aarhus University, Bartholins Alle 7, rhus 8000, Denmark.
262 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

The image of private security contractors protecting Norwegian-registered commer-
cial ships against non-state actor violence in the Gulf of Aden does not sit easily with
the idea of security provision as a definitional activity of sovereign statehood. This
Weberian idea(l) has, however, rarely existed in an uncompromised fashion outside of
books, whereas the act of private security provision has a long and multifaceted
empirical track record. This article seeks to further our knowledge of the contempo-
rary role of the state as a security provider through an in-depth examination of
Norwegian maritime security governance in the face of the upsurge in piracy in the
Gulf of Aden from 2007 onwards. Like multiple other shipping nations (Van Hespen,
2014), Norway took steps to clarify and explicitly authorise the use of private security
on board its registered fleet at the height of the piracy surge. The process culminated
in a new legal framework that entered into force on 1 June 2011 authorising armed
private maritime security.
The main aim of this article, therefore, is to reflect upon the roles performed by the
various stakeholders within the Norwegian governance arrangement, and to link this
case study to contemporary debates on governance with a specific eye to the changing
role of the state in security provision. Drawing upon works that consider private security
solutions to be an important indicator of evolving state/security relations, this article
examines how new roles and responsibilities are being cast among the actors in the
Norwegian governance of maritime security. The task is important for multiple reasons,
most notably for the purpose of grounding theoretical reflections on the evolving role of
the state as a security provider in detailed empirics. The article therefore starts by outlin-
ing theoretically why the contemporary governance of security involves a multitude of
actors cutting across the public/private and local/global divisions. It then examines how
this fragmentation manifests itself in practice, which actors are involved, through which
means, and with which consequences. Comparing the Norwegian case with the vast gov-
ernance literature, the article argues that the involved public actors are neither rowing nor
steering; rather, they are facilitating a governance arrangement through their convening
capacities and regulatory infrastructures.
Furthermore, the article examines an issue area that is rarely considered relevant for
the purposes of security studies, or the international relations discipline more broadly,
namely the maritime sector and its associated industry actors. This article challenges
implicitly held perceptions of the sea, of the maritime domain and of global shipping
in particular, as a separate sphere different from territorial politics. Although the mari-
time domain inhabits peculiarities that relate to its global structure characterised by
extreme interconnectedness and competitiveness, in turn positioning maritime actors
with a high degree of independence and autonomy in the political-economic landscape,
it is simultaneously deeply embedded in contemporary governance structures that cut
across the sea/land divide.
This article makes use of publicly available documents from public consultations ini-
tiated by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Ministry of Justice in
March 20111 and July 2012,2 and background interviews with key stakeholders in Oslo
in August 2013 (not directly quoted in text).3
Aarstad 263

Case and concepts

Norwegian shipping and global shipping: two sides of the same coin
In the maritime domain, unusual actors thrive. From the largest flag states of Panama
and Liberia to chief nationalities of ownership such as Greece and Japan, global ship-
ping rankings look remarkably different from a range of other business or economic
performance statistics. In this domain, Norway has a long history as an important mari-
time nation due to both its high percentage of owned deadweight tonnage and the
diverse shipping sectors important position in the national economy (Harlaftis and
Theotokas, 2010: 17). Situated in the present top ten list of the worlds largest owned
fleets measured in terms of both the ships owed by nationals and the fleets gross dead-
weight tonnage (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
2013, 2014), the country makes an interesting and relevant case study of the dynamics
of maritime security. As of 1 January 2014, the Norwegian-owned fleet of ships over
100 feet operating outside national territorial waters was registered in three categories:
1) the Norwegian Ship Register (NOR) with 219 ships, 2) the Norwegian International
Ship Register (NIS)4 with 540 ships, and 3) 1021 ships registered in foreign open regis-
tries (Norwegian Shipowners Association, 2014). The countrys shipping industry has
gone through significant reforms, mirroring the globalisation of shipping more broadly,
and it has followed the global patterns of expansion, decline and restructuring (see
Tenold, 2012). These elements serve the purpose of placing the Norwegian fleet firmly
within the global shipping industry as a relevant player, acknowledging both the fleets
size and the consequential strong position in the national political-economic landscape,
and its simultaneous embeddedness in the global and competitive structures of global
shipping. The Norwegian case study addressed in this article is therefore assumed to be
unique in its empirical details, but nevertheless inseparable from the broader macro
structures of global shipping.
Highlighting the relevance of maritime affairs for the study of contemporary govern-
ance dynamics is an implicit aim underlying this article. The maritime domain in general,
and global shipping in particular, are still invisible fields in the study of global politics.
Despite the industrys key role in facilitating global trade, extreme interdependence and
global connectedness, only very rarely do maritime affairs beyond that of territorial
disputes figure as remotely relevant or interesting for the broader International
Relations (IR) audience.5 Placing maritime affairs (back) into the study of global politics
is therefore an aim in itself. It is, however, necessary to comment upon the critical issue
of the extent to which maritime governance is representative of broader governance
trends. This is a question that follows the argument that the governance of maritime
affairs is distinct from land-based governance because of inherent peculiarities. This
refers, among other things, to the vast geographical distance between public authority
and maritime activities, and the consequential tradition of the shipping industry of main-
taining a more autonomous relationship vis--vis public authorities when compared to
other commercial sectors (see Grewal, 2008). This point is particularly salient taken the
already mentioned important position of the Norwegian shipping industry in the national
Norwegian economy (see Harlaftis and Theotokas, 2010; Tenold, 2012). The regulation
264 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

of global shipping is furthermore overtly complex due to the interplay between different
national and international legal regimes as a result of the industrys geographical
scope and mobile nature. The extent to which national public authorities are actually
capable of ensuring comprehensive regulation is therefore limited when compared to
some nationally anchored, land-based industries.
These concerns are relevant, and do carry some implications for the conclusions that
will be made, but they nevertheless do not distort the overall understanding of maritime
affairs as being intimately bound to broader political dynamics. From a historical point of
view, the governance of maritime security has a long history of being aligned with evolv-
ing state-security relations (Cols and Mabee, 2010). As argued by Mabee (2009), both
pre-19th-century piracy and privateering and contemporary usage of private security con-
tractors need to be understood with an eye to the demands of surrounding economic, politi-
cal and social macro structures, which make little differentiation between land-based and
sea-based activities. This argument can be extended to the contemporary globalised eco-
nomic landscape, where the overtly complex regulatory landscape of global shipping is
hardly a unique feature. Generally speaking, transnational corporations are by definition
subject to different jurisdictions due to their cross-border activities. Overlapping legal
regimes and jurisdictions or the straightforward lack thereof often challenges compre-
hensive regulation. As such, instead of approaching the regulatory challenges of the com-
paratively autonomous maritime domain as a unique problem, the article argues that the
maritime sector not only replicates, but also actually amplifies contemporary governance
dynamics. As will be shown in the analysis of the Norwegian governance arrangement sur-
rounding the resort to private maritime security, this amplification concerns the vast share
of actors involved across public/private and global/local divides, the degree of private sec-
tor autonomy and responsibilities in the arrangement, and the mode of regulation.

The contemporary governance of security

In order to analyse the Norwegian governance arrangement, it is necessary to elaborate
on what characterises contemporary governance with a specific eye to the governance of
security. According to a range of scholars across the disciplines of IR, sociology, law and
criminology, horizontal actor networks have gradually replaced vertical hierarchical
social structures as a means for governing societal affairs, including security (Avant
etal., 2010; Dupont, 2004). Within the new structures of governance, a vast array of
governors encompassing public authorities, individuals, corporations, organisations and
the like, create issues, set agendas, establish and implement rules or programs, and
evaluate and/or adjudicate outcomes (Avant etal., 2010: 2). This fragmentation of roles
and responsibilities in governing is linked to fundamental societal changes associated
with late modernity, most importantly increasing global interconnectedness, and (neolib-
eral) efforts by states to scale down their activities. The former change is associated with
the collapse of barriers that once corseted institutions, organisations, communities and
individuals inside limited roles and responsibilities (Dupont, 2004: 77). The latter
change is associated with the state loosening regulations of economic and social activi-
ties while simultaneously scaling back in some areas and encouraging private actors to
finance and provide an array of services (Avant etal., 2010: 5).
Aarstad 265

With reference to the field of security, these changes have been described as a quiet
revolution and noticed by criminologists since the early 1980s (Stenning and Shearing,
1980; Shearing and Stenning, 1981). According to Abrahamsen and Williams (2011),
the security domain was arguably more resistant to the neoliberal ethos when compared
to other public sectors, but has caught up and appears today as significantly trans-
formed (p. 61). The contemporary security environment is characterised by its fragmen-
tation, also referred to as pluralisation or hybridity (Dupont, 2004). This refers most
notably to the multitude of actors involved in both formulating security demands (what
requires protection and through which means) and providing security supplies (see
Bayley and Shearing, 2001). Moreover, the increasing reliance on private security pro-
viders diminishes the importance of national boundaries, since security issues, security
providers and security buyers are not necessarily geographically linked. Security is
treated today as an inherently global commodity, which can be traded across spaces.
Indeed, the worlds largest private security providers such as G4S and Securitas operate
so to say in all corners of the world, with local branch offices linked to their British-
registered headquarters. Hence, the old idea(l) of security being a priori structured along
public/private and local/global divisions come up short in the contemporary security
In order to analyse how security is organised, hereunder provided and regulated,
researchers have been searching for concepts and tools that facilitate the characteristics
sketched out above. Some authors approach the contemporary security environment
through network analyses (Crawford, 2006; Krahmann, 2005), others prefer the term
assemblage (Abrahamsen and Williams, 2011; Schouten, 2014), both concepts carrying
strong references to a fragmented form of organisation. The concept of governance,
which is the preferred term for this articles analysis, has become a keyword in the social
science literature, having as its common denominator the portrayal of governing pro-
cesses as a joint task between constellations of various actors across the public/private
divides, and, with reference to multi-level governance, across the global/local divides.
There is, however, a great deal of disagreement on the concepts status as a theoretical/
analytical tool. Governance is seen as cause and effect, explanandum and explanans,
theory and practice, and therefore means vastly different things when applied in research
(see Hofferberth, 2015). The concept has maintained a dominant state-centric bias by
often referring to a specific type of organisational structure where the state occupies the
main seat. According to this interpretation, governance refers to the pattern of rule aris-
ing when the state is relying upon others, that is, non-state actors (Bevir, 2009; Offe,
2009). A common related claim, then, is that governance essentially refers to the observed
shift whereby the states main occupation has shifted from that of rowing the boat to
steering the boat, by authorising and directing activities performed by others (Bell and
Hindmoor, 2009).6 Others go further in tying down the concept, and link governance not
only to a specific type of organisation structure, but also add a normative twist by insist-
ing on minimal normativity and/or common good orientation as part of the very defi-
nition of governance (see e.g. Brzel etal., 2008; Risse, 2011).
Although the rowing/steering metaphors certainly carry some analytical value, and
although a common good orientation can be a useful tool to investigate an arrange-
ments adherence to desired values and norms, they nevertheless block for broader
266 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

debates about the constantly evolving governing capacities of both public and private
actors in a range of social affairs when considered to be part and parcel of the very con-
ceptualisation of governance. The former give priority to the state as the locomotive in
and of the arrangement. Together with the latters inclusion of normative claims in the
conceptualisation of governance; for example, regarding the proper role and responsibil-
ity of the state vis--vis non-state actors, these understandings allow the relationship
between public and private actors within an arrangement to constitute the lens for assess-
ing the question are things how they ought to be? This turns the concept of governance
into a theoretical-normative framework for assessing an arrangements adherence to an
ideal type constructed around a state-bias, which makes the concept unfit for addressing
the constantly evolving structures of societal-political organisation.
To avoid the above, governance is approached as a meta-concept, encompassing sub-
concepts of modes of coordinating actions. This means, for instance, that (state) govern-
ment is included in the governance concept as one out of many modes. This understanding
of governance, drawing upon works from criminologists such as Johnston (2006) and
Wood and Dupont (2006), is in itself unable to say something up front abut who gov-
erns, but aims to provide a useful starting point for discussing how things are (as
opposed to are things how they ought to be?). Acknowledging that the state does play
an important role as a crucial site of governance should not lead either to the theoretical
assumption that this is always so, or to the normative assumption that this ought to be so,
as argued by Johnston (2006). Governance, therefore, is in this article understood
squarely as an analyticalconceptual tool. It is conceptualised as the process of coordi-
nating actions, and, for the purposes of examining the case in question, this is narrowed
down to the coordination of actions across three relevant phases of the policy cycle: 1)
agenda setting, understood as the definition of governing objectives, 2) implementation,
understood as the processes by which these objectives are achieved, and 3) evaluation,
referring to the ability to assess the provision of the defined governing objectives (drawn
in part on Bevir, 2009: 153154). Such an empirical-analytical understanding of govern-
ance does in itself contain no explicit theoretical claims, but helps to organise and struc-
ture the analysis. This is done by directing attention towards the capacities necessary for
defining and achieving governing objectives, and the related question of which actors
are performing these capacities. The Norwegian governance of maritime security there-
fore refers to the coordinated action among stakeholders in these three phases that culmi-
nated in the new legal framework that explicitly authorised the usage of armed private
security on 1 July 2011. It is to this coordinated action that the article now turns.

Norwegian maritime security governance

In the period that stretched from 2007 to 2011, the usage of, and attitudes towards, pri-
vate security came to the forefront in the maritime sector. Prior to the piracy upsurge in
the Gulf of Aden, the general view held by the global shipping community on private
security was largely negative. Private security, it was argued, would blur established
public/private responsibilities dictating who does what at sea, understood as holding
the state responsible for sea-borne security provision (Berube and Cullen, 2012: 4).
However, attitude changes were about to sweep across the sector in parallel with the
Aarstad 267

growth of attempted and successful piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden (International
Maritime Bureau, 2012). As a consequence, an increasing number of individual ship-
owners started employing armed private security personnel on board transits through
piracy-infested areas and/or lobbied their national governments for authorising private
security. The change in practice trickled upwards to industry associations and govern-
ments, and the heavyweight industry stakeholder International Chamber of Shipping
(ICS) stated publicly in February 2011 for the first time that arming ships through
private security companies was an understandable move in the face of growing piracy
risks (Polemis, 2011, quoted in Dutton, 2013: 129130). In the meantime, a range of
national governments initiated processes towards explicitly laying the ground for the
usage of private security, whereas others implicitly tolerated the practice without offer-
ing specific regulation (see Van Hespen, 2014).

Agenda setting: defining governing objectives

The Norwegian governance arrangement was fuelled by the above-mentioned changes. As
noted by Berndtsson and stensen (2015), using private maritime security solutions before
2011 was not explicitly illegal in Norway, but the issue area was subject to large amounts
of uncertainties based on diverging interpretations of the existing legal framework (p. 143).
Key Norwegian stakeholders, such as the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NRF),
were prior to 2010 negative in their views on armed private maritime security.
The NRF came to revise its earlier negative position on private security throughout
the autumn of 2010, and expressed understanding for individual shipowners hiring armed
private security guards (Norwegian Shipowners Association, Public Consultation (PC),
2011). Representing the large and powerful assembly of Norwegian shipowners, the shift
in position by the NRF was an important move in terms of being able to raise the issue
on the political agenda in a concerted manner, and was undertaken in advance of the
position shift at the ICS. Another important early mover was the Norwegian Shipowners
Mutual War Risk Insurance Association (DNK), the most important provider of war-risk
insurance to Norwegian shipping companies. Nearly all Norwegian-registered ships are
insured by the DNK, and the DNK also offers insurance to Norwegian-owned ships reg-
istered in foreign ship registries (DNK web). Due to the latter practice, the DNK already
had experience with offering advice to clients hiring armed private security guards
(Ministry of Trade and Industries, PC, 2011). Therefore, when the issue gradually became
relevant in Norway, the DNK was in a position to offer advice to its clients on the selec-
tion of security companies and insurance implications, a stereotypical example of how
international customs and practices travel across borders in sectors and issue areas that
are essentially global in character. In cooperation with the NRF and the Norwegian
Maritime Officers Association, on 23 March 2011 the DNK published for its members
the worlds first industry guidelines regarding the usage of armed maritime private secu-
rity companies. According to the text, the aim of the guidelines was to assist [the DNKs]
Members in their vetting process of Private Security Companies once the decision has
been made to employ a PSC (Den Norske Krigsforsikring for Skib (DNK), 2011). It
contains, among other things, minimum standards for selection, insurance requirements
and guidelines regarding weapons and their usage.
268 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

The roles of the DNK and the broader sector of global insurers and underwriters
stretch, however, well beyond their involvement in being a first mover in the drafting of
industry guidelines. The Gulf of Aden was designated a war-risk area by the DNK in
2008, following the recommendation from the Lloyds Joint War Committee (JWC),
which in turned inferred higher insurance premiums for ships transiting the area (Brown,
2012). The DNK followed a well-documented global trend (Brown, 2012; Cullen, 2012;
Lobo-Guerrero, 2008, 2012; Miller, 2009) of offering reductions in insurance premiums
for ships that hired armed private security for protection in 2013 (Mellingen, DNK, email
consultation, 2015). Such a practice gives insurance providers a great deal of influence
over the conduct of their clients, and can be said to have constituted an important push
factor in raising the issue area on the political agenda in the first place.
On 4 March 2011, after strong pressure from Norwegian shipowners and shipown-
ers associations, and in a period during which Norwegian shipowners had also started
to utilise armed private security amidst the unclear regulatory conditions, the Ministry
of Trade and Industries and the Ministry of Justice initiated a public consultation (PC)
on the issue of regulating armed private security on board Norwegian-registered ships
through amendments to existing legislation (Bergen Shipowners Association, PC,
2011; Ministry of Trade and Industries, PC, 2011). The Ministry of Trade and Industries
positioned itself in favour of the move, noting that no ship has been hijacked with
armed personnel on board (Ministry of Trade and Industries, PC, 2011). The public
consultation included more than 50 Norwegian stakeholders (see note 1), who were
invited to comment upon the Ministrys draft outline of amendments to existing arms
regulations and ship security regulations. In sum, the amendments would allow
Norwegian-registered ships the option to apply for a six-month general arms permit if
sailing to or from a high-risk area as laid down by the Norwegian Maritime Authority
(NMA). The draft framework offered by the Ministry and the industry guidance pro-
vided by the DNK, the NRF and the Norwegian Maritime Officers Association are
remarkably similar in character, advocating an industry-driven approach to security
provision where industry actors are offered the bulk of responsibilities vis--vis selec-
tion and regulation of the chosen private security provider. Identical formulations for
example, with reference to the storage of weapons, where both make reference to the
rather ambiguous demand to ensure appropriate storage indicate a strong synergy
between the two texts.
The agenda-setting phase of the governance arrangement was therefore heavily
influenced by demands from individual ship owners and their industry associations, in
turn driven by both safety concerns for staff and economic incentives arising from the
competitive challenge from other companies usage of private security, exaggerated by
the international insurance industrys reduced insurance premiums for transits carrying
armed security guards. The Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Ministry of Justice
responded to inquiries issued from the maritime industry (see Bergen Shipowners
Association, PC, 2011; Norwegian Shipowners Association (NFR), PC, 2011), the
insurance industry (the Norwegian Shipowners Mutual War Risk Insurance Association,
PC, 2011), and the framework outlined corresponded to wishes expressed in the indus-
try guidelines provided by the DNK, the NRF and the Norwegian Maritime Officers
Association (DNK, 2011).
Aarstad 269

Implementation: achieving governing objectives

On 29 June 2011, on the basis of the extensive consultation, the Norwegian government
announced a new framework on the use of armed guards through amendments to the
Arms Regulation 904/2009 (Lovdata, 2011a) and the Ship Security Regulation 972/2004
(Lovdata, 2011b). The framework was announced as provisional and subject to evalua-
tion after a one-year pilot phase. In statements to national media, the then-Minister of
Trade and Industries, Trond Giske, pointed to the urgent and escalating situation of the
piracy threat, and went to considerable lengths in justifying the move to private arms on
the basis of the inadequacy of existing options and the necessity of contributing to a safe
working environment for seafarers. The minister also pointed to similar developments in
other seafaring nations, and specifically stated that Norway cannot be the only country
not allowing for armed guards (NRK, 2011, authors translation). The provisional
changes entered into force on 1 July 2011, and allow shipping companies to apply for a
six-month general permission to temporarily make use of armed guards when sailing in,
to or from a high-risk area, as established by the NMA. The applicant may furthermore
apply to make use of weapons otherwise forbidden, such as fully automatic firearms or
semi-automatic firearms (Lovdata, 2011a).
Comparing the provisional law amendments of 1 July 2011 with the consultation
responses from March and April the same year offers insight on the views of private
security from the different stakeholders involved. The strongest objections against the
proposed law amendments had to do with the fear of escalating violence and making
seafaring more dangerous (Norwegian Engineering Association, PC, 2011; Norwegian
United Seamens Union, PC, 2011), that the exemptions from the arms regulation went
too far and/or that they were not followed up with adequate public regulation and control
mechanisms (KRIPOS, PC, 2011; Ministry of Defense, PC, 2011; Police Directorate,
PC, 2011), that ship masters were neither adequately equipped nor trained to be in a com-
mand position regarding the use of armed force (University of Oslo Center for Human
Rights, PC, 2011), that the amendments could implicate international obligations and
invoke state responsibility (KRIPOS, PC, 2011; Ministry of Defence, PC, 2011; Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, PC, 2011), that the requirements regarding armed guards and storage
of weapons were unspecified and/or lax (Coastal Service, PC, 2011; KRIPOS, PC, 2011;
Ministry of Defence, PC, 2011; Police Directorate, PC, 2011), and that the decision
about whether to use armed guards lies with the shipowner, leaving no say for the master
of the ship who would bear the command responsibility (Norwegian Seafarers Union/
Norwegian Maritime Officers Association, PC, 2011).
When read together, important changes can be observed in the final law-amendments
which entered into force on 1 July 2011, compared to the suggested law-amendment as
put forward in the consultation of 4 March 2011. The most notable of these relate to clari-
fication of command responsibility, stricter demands on weapon storage, a duty to report
to the NMA and to KRIPOS in case of personal injury and/or death following the usage
of weapons, minimum requirements for guards and company selected, and a clarification
of the use of weapons as a matter of very last resort after all other alternative options
have been deemed insufficient. Based on the references to the various objections referred
to above, it appears that objections stemming from the consultation that centred on the
270 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

need for clarification, reformulations and specifications were followed up and imple-
mented in the final version of 1 July 2011. However, more serious objections such as the
call for stronger public regulation and control, as voiced by KRIPOS, the Police
Directorate and the Ministry of Defence, were not reflected in the final version of the
amendments. Even though the final law amendments go further in specifying procedures
relevant for shipping companies that choose to hire private security companies, 22 (4)
of the Ship Security Regulations (Lovdata, 2011b) makes it clear that the procedures are
not subject to verification and approval, which underscores that it is the shipping com-
pany who is responsible for the establishing of adequate procedures for the usage of
armed private security without interference from public authorities.
Similarly, although shipowners are requested to report to the NMA about their choice
of private security companies, and to document that the individual guards are sufficiently
trained, the reporting is deemed necessary for orientation purposes according to 20(2)
of the Ship Security Regulations (Lovdata, 2011b), not for regulative purposes. The
NMA, according to 20(4) of the Ship Security Regulations (Lovdata, 2011b), can deny
the usage of a specific private security company, if the NMA receives information that
a named security company is not considered suitable for use. However, this regulatory
function is dependent upon the looming if: there are few mechanisms in place to ensure
that the NMA receives the information necessary to make such qualified decisions. As
stated by Berndtsson and stensen (2015), shipping companies are not required to
report their experiences after the deployment of PCASP [Privately Contracted Armed
Security Personnel], unless specific violent incidents have taken place (p. 147). This
makes the regulatory capacities of the NMA dependent upon cooperation with, and vol-
untary inputs from, the actors it is set to regulate.
Although less explicit, the implementation phase was also industry-driven in charac-
ter, reflecting and corresponding to wishes expressed by shipowners and shipowners
associations, and preferences by the insurance industry in their respective consultation
replies from March and April 2011. Although important changes to the initial proposal
were made to accommodate concerns as expressed by actors such as KRIPOS, the
adopted law-amendments pay tribute to the demands of the shipping and insurance
industries by granting them great autonomy in both the selection and regulation of pri-
vate security providers. This is not to say, however, that Norwegian public authorities did
not see their own interests represented in the final governance framework. Successfully,
the state was released from claims of responsibility for sea-security and corresponding
costs, and the task of both performing and paying for security-related tasks was dele-
gated to the private security industry and the private maritime industry respectively. The
Ministry of Trade and Industries specifically stated in the consultation letter that:

For the authorities, the administrative and economic consequences [of private armed security]
will be absolutely marginal. Correctly, the Norwegian Maritime Authority will be receiving
reports of incidents where weapons have been used, but the follow-up of this reporting requires
no resources of significance. (Ministry of Trade and Industries, PC, 2011, authors translation)

The Norwegian authorities, representing a leading maritime nation (Harlaftis and

Theotokas, 2010), are also well aware of the negative effects of shipowners flagging out
Aarstad 271

to countries of with more lenient regulatory frameworks, so-called flags of convenience

(FOCs) (see Grewal, 2008). The cost-aspects of allowing and providing a regulative frame-
work for private maritime security therefore extends well beyond what is sketched out
above by the Ministry of Trade and Industries it also relates to political/economic impedi-
ments of continuing to be a relevant and desirable flag-state through various means.
Allowing, and providing, an industry-friendly regulative framework for the usage of armed
private security can be considered one such means, underscored by former-minister Giskes
above-mentioned statement that Norway cannot be the only country not allowing for
armed guards (NRK, 2011, authors translation). Nevertheless, the scenario of private
security having emerged as a politically acceptable alternative was an industry-driven pro-
cess, in turn reflecting trends in the global shipping and insurance industries.

Evaluation: assessing the provision of governing objectives

In August 2012, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Trade and Industries issued
another public consultation to evaluate the provisional law amendments that entered into
force on 1 July 2011 (see endnote 2). The feedback from the second consultation was
generally supportive of the changes, and previously sceptical actors either saw nothing
to comment upon (Ministry of Defence, PC, 2012; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PC,
2012) or had come to acknowledge that the use of private armed security did contribute
to a feeling of safety for seafarers (Norwegian Engineering Association, PC, 2012). The
strongest critic was the Norwegian Red Cross, which maintained that the knowledge
about the use of force on the part of shipmasters and security guards alike was still insuf-
ficient (Norwegian Red Cross, PC, 2012). However, the provisional law amendments
were made permanent in early 2013, and the then-Minister of Trade and Industries,
Trond Giske, spoke publicly of good experiences overall and a sharp decline in piracy
attacks, and stated that the usage of armed private guards had not escalated violence in
the Gulf of Aden (Aftenposten, 2013).
The decision to make the provisional law amendments permanent was a governmen-
tal decision on the basis of the second public consultation. It should be mentioned that
the NMA has the power to revise what counts as a high-risk area to which the law applies,
in theory allowing for the possibility that the amendments are made ineffective at any
time. However, the overall favourable attitude observed among the included stakehold-
ers in the evaluative consultation and the persistently high number of armed transits
through the Gulf of Aden by Norwegian-registered ships approximately 400 transits
per year since July 2011 as reported by the NMA (Fossan, NMA, email consultation,
2014) indicates that private maritime security is here to stay. The governments deci-
sion to make the provisional law amendments permanent hence contributed to the nor-
malisation and gradual institutionalisation of armed security as a natural component in
and of the governance of maritime security.

Public facilitation of private maritime security

On the basis of the governance process that led to the permanent amendments made to
the Arms Regulation 904/2009 (Lovdata, 2011a) and the Ship Security Regulation
272 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

972/2004 (Lovdata, 2011b), this article argues that the verb that most accurately
describes the Norwegian authorities role in the governance arrangement is that of facil-
itating. This stands in contrast to the better known verbs associated with the terminology
of governance, where the state is argued to be steering rather than rowing, by authoris-
ing and directing activities (Bell and Hindmoor, 2009). Yet, conceptually, steering
implies strong agenda-setting capacities, a sense of command and certainty of direction,
capacities which were not undertaken by the public actors involved in the arrangement
under analysis. Facilitation implies the explicit or implicit assistance in carrying an
activity forward; either by inaction, by allowing for action, or by helping the activities
run more smoothly and effectively. Facilitation thus comes close to what Jessop (2002)
has described as the reordering of public actors general function towards that of being
responsible for organizing the self-organisation of social forces (p. 199). In the govern-
ance arrangement outlined above, the Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Ministry
of Justice made use of their convening capacities and regulatory infrastructure, respec-
tively, in the facilitation of an essentially industry-driven process towards the authorisa-
tion of private maritime security. In two out of three phases of the governance process,
strong agenda-setting capacities were performed by industry actors, which directed the
way of the governance arrangement, whereby public authorities undertook a convening
and weak regulative role in the shape of the ministry of Trade and Industries and the
Ministry of Justice. Other relevant ministries supplied correctives through the public
consultation alongside the equally important correctives received from industry asso-
ciations in the implementation phase.
By facilitating the governance arrangement surrounding the resort to private maritime
security upon demand, Norwegian public authorities traded a lower degree of control in
terms of both directing the end goal and regulating behaviour in exchange for a flexible
solution to a contemporary security challenge with minimal costs and risks undertaken.
Public authorities did not only accept the framing of maritime (in)security as a matter
predominantly concerning trade and national competitiveness, but also actively contrib-
uted to the process. This is underlined by the treatment of private security first and fore-
most as a means to combat trade obstacles, rather than dwelling with the potential
consequences for international law with reference to potential invocation of state respon-
sibility, and the principled state/security dilemmas. The latter, the active contribution,
can be observed in the choice made to amend existing legislation rather than introducing
new legislation, and thereby avoiding a potential lengthy parliamentary debate on the
politics of private security.
These two points furthermore reveal that public and private actors are by no means
engaged in a zero-sum relationship: the case does not reveal private actors taking over
the governance of security from pacified public actors. In the fragmented governance
arrangement, private actors are both capable of formulating (security) demands and
being responsible for providing (security) supplies, but these private governing capaci-
ties are actively convened and regulated, although in a light fashion, through the special
competences of public authorises, in their expressed interests. Understood in this man-
ner, the fragmentation of roles and responsibilities across a large number of actors is
fronted by a sense of capacity differentiation. Business might know what is best for busi-
ness, but the state knows best how to make policy. The facilitating capacities of public
Aarstad 273

authorities become their competitive advantage, simultaneously ensuring their continued

relevance as security governors.
To what extent, then, is the facilitating role undertaken by public authorities bound to
the domain of maritime affairs? The Norwegian public authorities as represented through
the Ministry of Trade and Industries have strong interest in supporting a highly competi-
tive Norwegian shipping industry, and perform what has been labelled a strategic trade
policy vis--vis the industry by former Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary of State
Erik Lahnstein (Vermes, 2011). This refers, among other things, to special tax exemp-
tions, in turn linked to the competitive conditions derived from the vast amount of ship-
ping companies registered in FOCs with minimal tax requirements. The industry-driven
governance arrangement, and the facilitating role undertaken by public actors can there-
fore partly be understood with an eye to the strong imperatives arising from running a
strategic trade policy, and the corresponding strong bargaining position enjoyed by the
shipping industry vis--vis public authorities (see Grewal, 2008). However, as men-
tioned in the introduction, although the shipping industry does inhabit inherent peculiari-
ties, the Norwegian governance of maritime security simultaneously not only replicates
but also amplifies broader governance dynamics.
The actors involved, the process, and the final outcome of the law amendments which
explicitly authorise the usage of private armed security on board Norwegian-registered
ships allow for making multiple references to the macro structures surrounding the organ-
isation of contemporary security provision as previously sketched out. The assortment of
actors involved in the arrangement testifies to the fragmented nature of the contemporary
governance of security, where the capacity to formulate and provide both security demand
and security supply is diffused across the public/private and local/global divisions. The
amplification of these trends in the Norwegian governance arrangement refers, among
other things, to the inclusion of a wide web of actors in the arrangement, such as the
importance of the global and national insurance industry in establishing war-risk-areas
and corresponding insurance premiums. Furthermore, the types of weapons that private
maritime security companies are allowed to use go way beyond the provisions regulating
land-based private security governance arrangement.7 To an extent, this can be explained
by the comparatively peaceful environment in which Norwegian land-based security con-
tractors operate, but the provisions in the amended Arms Regulation stretches beyond
even those applying to Norwegian military personnel operating in conflict zones. Security
guards protecting Norwegian flagged ships are, under 23a of the amended Arms
Regulation (Lovdata, 2011a), entitled to make use of weapons that Norwegian military
personnel can use only when targeting material structures (as opposed to soft targets, i.e.
combatants), as pointed out by the Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service
(KRIPOS) (PC, 2011). No similar limitations follow 23a, which effectively means that
these weapons are not restricted to targeting material structures when used by private
guards at sea upon successful application (see 23a at Lovdata, 2011a).
Finally, the governance arrangement is characterised by its heavy reliance on industry
self-regulation, leaving a number of important regulatory measures in the hands of the
hiring company. The deliberate choice by public authorities not to institutionalise a
vetting system, but rather to leave the choice of companies to the shipping companies
themselves, amplifies the self-regulatory ethos of the private security industry in the
274 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

Norwegian maritime context. The Norwegian governance of private maritime security,

including the facilitating role undertaken by public authorities, is therefore also part and
parcel of global security governance dynamics, and cannot be understood with an iso-
lated view to the maritime domain. The Norwegian authorities facilitation of the mari-
time governance arrangement under analysis is arguably amplified in itself, in turn due
to the shipping industrys strong bargaining position and corresponding imperatives aris-
ing from running a strategic trade policy, but the facilitating role itself is an expression
of evolving governance dynamics in which the organisation of security is becoming
increasingly fragmented and private security provision increasingly accepted.
In this same period in which the Norwegian governance arrangement was laid out, a
range of organisations, companies and governments came to accept, or even advocate,
the use of private armed security on board ships for protection against piracy. According
to the summary of country authorisations provided by Van Hespen (2014), it is difficult
not to be struck by the domino-like effect sweeping across the worlds shipping nations.
Furthermore, the additional tacit acceptance (i.e. without having undertaken explicit
authorisation) by a range of flag states for the same type of usage, and the regulatory/
common ground frameworks provided by formal and informal international organisa-
tions such as the International Maritime Organisation and the Contact Group on Piracy
off the Coast of Somalia, contribute to the overall understanding that there is a contem-
porary global consensus on the use of private security companies for protection.
As such, although the sole focus of this article in all its empirical detail has centred on
the Norwegian governance arrangement, the dynamics observed most importantly the
steps taken to explicitly legally authorise the usage of private maritime security speak
to a broader number of cases. In a similar fashion, the facilitating role can be observed
with reference to countries such as Denmark, Great Britain and Germany, in which pri-
vate maritime security companies today are found to operate within, and not outside, the
regulatory frameworks provided by the states, and are, in turn, considered to be legiti-
mate and collaborating actors in the nationally anchored governance arrangements (see
Van Hespen, 2014). Although these various national arrangements differ with regards to
the rigor of the authorisations provided, the level of inclusion of private actors, and the
relationship between actors in the arrangements, they are all expressions of joint interests
in the utilisation of private security. Simultaneously, they are also manifestations of pub-
lic actors enduring relevance as security governors through their facilitating capacities
in fragmented governance arrangements.

The Norwegian acceptance of armed private security for maritime protection did not
arise in a vacuum. It was part of a domino-like process that involved a large share of the
worlds shipping nations, which in turn is indicative of a global consensual acceptance of
private maritime security. An important argument in the article is that this local expres-
sion of a global consensus exhibits fundamental changes in the organisation of security,
where security is transformed into a commodity, demanded, supplied and regulated by a
vast array of actors. This fragmented form of governance is no longer structured along
public/private and local/global divisions, therefore requiring tools and concepts capable
Aarstad 275

of analysing the interplay between actors and their individual roles and responsibilities
in a given governance arrangement.
Another important argument concerns the relevance of maritime governance for the
broader body of governance literature. Can the findings from a maritime case study offer
relevant perspectives on the evolving relationship between public and private actors in
governance? It has been argued that, despite the distinctiveness of the Norwegian mari-
time industry, the Norwegian governance of maritime security actually amplifies broader
governance trends. From this point of view, the maritime domain is part and parcel of
global politics and, thus, by studying its political aspects we can further our knowledge
on the evolving dynamics of governance.
Hence, this articles main contribution is the analysis of the role of Norwegian public
authorities in the governance arrangement, and the implications thereof. Having analysed
the case by drawing upon an empirical-analytical understanding of governance, the article
argues that the involved public actors in the governance arrangement surrounding the resort
to private maritime security are neither rowing nor steering; rather, they are facilitating a
security governance arrangement through their convening capacities and regulatory infra-
structures. This understanding stands in sharp contrast to popular assumptions about the
primary role of the state in security provision, but offers nevertheless little support to those
arguing that the state is becoming an irrelevant security governor. On the contrary, the
facilitating capacities of public actors are understood as a form of capacity differentiation,
which in turn provides a competitive advantage in the governance of security. In other
words, strong facilitating capacities succeeding in organizing the self-organisation of
social forces ensure public actors continued relevance as security governors.
This argument adds a nuance to the discussion raised by Deborah Avant (2005) on
the gains and losses of utilising private security by strong states and weak states (pp.
5765). Whereas Avant analyses gains and losses predominantly from the point of view
of the states capacity to comprehensively regulate, the facilitating argument as applied
to the Norwegian case indicates that the capacity to facilitate governance arrangements
heavily reliant upon the private sector might be considered a strength in itself. It is likely
that the facilitating capacities of public actors will become increasingly important in
parallel with an increasingly fragmented and globalised security environment.
Having reflected upon how things are, the arguments raised here open for a range
of other queries that go beyond the parameters of this article. Importantly, the article has
not addressed how the facilitating role resonates with established principles of policy
making. The facilitating argument thus prepares the ground for asking the normative
questions that have been left aside in this article: are things how they ought to be, or,
what kind of facilitator should the state be?

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this

1. Public consultation (PC) 2011. Involved parties in the public consultation (PC) of 4 March
2011: All ministries, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, the Norwegian Directorate for
276 Cooperation and Conflict 52(2)

Civil Protection, Norwegian Courts Administration, Judge Advocate General, Joint Rescue
Coordination Centre Southern Norway, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Northern Norway,
the Norwegian Coastal Guard, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, Scandinavian Institute
of Maritime Law, the Police Directorate, the Norwegian Police Security Service (KRIPOS),
the Norwegian Police University College, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution,
the Norwegian Ship Registers, the Accident Investigation Board Norway, Parliamentary
Ombudsman, the Norwegian Bar Association, Amnesty International Norway, the Norwegian
Shipowners Mutual War Risk Insurance Association (DNK), Det Norske Veritas, Norwegian
Engineering Association, Norwegian United Seamens Union, the Norwegian Coastal
Federation, Fraktefartyenes Rederiforening, Hurtigbtenes Rederiforbund, the Norwegian
Confederation of Trade Unions, Maritime Forum Norway, the Norwegian Shipowners
Association (NRF), Bergen Shipowners Association, the Norwegian Fishermens
Association, Norwegian Red Cross, the Norwegian Sailing Federation, Norwegian Maritime
Officers Association, Norwegian Seafarers Union, Politiembetsmennenes Landsforening,
Politiets Fellesforbund, Rederienes Landsforening/The Federation of Norwegian Coastal
Shipping, Confederation of Vocational Unions, Brsemakernes Landsforbund, Det Frivillge
Skyttervesen, Norges Benkeskytterforbund, Norges Jeger og Fiskerforbund, Norges
Metallsilhuett Forbund, Norges Skytterforbund, Norsk Forbund for Praktisk Skyting,
Norsk Organisasjon for Jegere og Skyttere, Norsk Vpeneierforbund, Norwegian Arms and
Armor Society, Norske Reserveoffiserers Forbund, Scandinavian Ammunition Research
Association, Scandinavian Western Shooters, Vpenrdet. Information about, access to the
consultation, and all available replies can be found at
2. Evaluative public consultation (PC) 2012. Involved parties in the evaluative consultation of
13 July 2012: the Ministry of Defense, the Norwegian Police Security Service (KRIPOS),
the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (CEFOR), the Norwegian Shipowners Mutual
War Risk Insurance Association (DNK), Norwegian Red Cross, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
the Norwegian Engineering Association, the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NRF).
Information about the consultation can be found at:
evaluering-av-sikkerhetsforskriften-kap-/id696779/. Access to the consultation and all avail-
able replies can be assured by contacting the Maritime Department at the Norwegian Ministry
of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The 2012 consultation reply from the Norwegian Police
Security Service (KRIPOS) is not publicly accessible.
3. List of background interviews conducted:

The Norwegian Shipowners Association, Haakon Svane, Oslo 27.08.13

The Norwegian Shipowners Mutual War Risk Insurance Association, Ingrid Mellingen, Oslo
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, smund Erikssen, Cato Salichat, Oslo 28.08.13
The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industries, Terje Hernes Pettersen, Oslo 28.08.13
The Norwegian Red Cross, Andreas Thorheim, Oslo 28.08.13

4. NIS differs from NOR by accommodating the combination of foreign labour with Norwegian
ownership (Tenold, 2012: 33).
5. The securitisation of maritime space in the face of piracy and the subsequent utilisation
of private maritime security have contributed to enhancing the IR interest in maritime
affairs. See the Bueger (2014), Bueger etal. (2011), Liss (2013), Liss and Sharman (2014),
Aarstad 277

Lobo-Guerrero (2008, 2012), and Oliveira (2012, 2013), Special Issue of Ocean Development
& International Law (2015).
6. The distinction between rowing and steering was allegedly coined by ES Savas in 1987
(Huges, 2010: 94).
7. For an overview of the Norwegian regulation of land-based private security companies, see
stensen (2013).

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Email consultations
The Norwegian Maritime Authority: Turid Fossan on 24.11.2014.
The Norwegian Shipowners Mutual War Risk Insurance Association (DNK): Ingrid Mellingen on

Author biography
sne Kalland Aarstad is a PhD candidate at Aarhus University. She has published on private
security, maritime security and European foreign policy, and is the co-editor of The SAGE
Handbook on European Foreign Policy (SAGE, 2015).