The strategic importance of maritime security is a continental issue in Africa and very closely linked to its perceived successes and failures as a maritime continent. This is directly related to the porous nature of maritime crimes in the very fabric of Africa’s maritime profile. This paper seeks out the questions that drive the continent into understanding the rationale behind deploying drones as a measure for maritime security and safety. It highlights the requirements of drones within a maritime safe and secure environment and indicates the technology challenges that exit around drones as an attempt to achieve such maritime safety and security. The most prominent application of drones as such a measure is reviewed in its base application against maritime environmental crime data collection tool. It clarifies the status of data so collected by drones as it relates to its locus standi in current legal systems. This is as the data so collected does not constitute to evidence gathered for detection purposes. This is further amplified by what such status would be in the process of port state control as part of port security and is expanded to cover the same application process for other maritime crimes than environmental. The paper is positioned to find a bridge between the data collected by drones and the application for such by the implementation of the Flag State Control and the ISPS Code. This is considered for the impact factors obtained by the implication of using drones as a deterrent for maritime crimes in its combatting and prevention role. The paper lastly considers typical deflection strategies implemented to contravene in the application of drones as part of port security.
Papers presented virtually at the 39th International Southern African Transport Conference on 05 -07 July 2021