Islamist terrorism and migration main maritime concerns in Mediterranean

Islamist terrorism and migration are the main concerns on the north and south coasts of the Mediterranean, according to the latest quarterly report from Maritime operations company Dryad Maritime.

No maritime attacks have occurred so far, but authorities were sufficiently concerned to raise security throughout the summer season at transport hubs and popular tourist areas, particularly in Turkey, France and Spain. In August, Italy raised the ISPS state of its tourist ports over concerns about possible attacks on ferry and cruise ships. In addition, the French government has extended the national state of emergency until January 2017. A state of emergency remains in force in Turkey since the failed coup attempt in July.

The number of migrants trying to reach the Mediterranean has dropped in 2016 due to enhanced cooperation between coastguard authorities and NATO.

The Egyptian military continue to maintain a tight grip on security surrounding the Suez Canal.

Dryad said that it had observed an emerging migrant route leaving Egyptian shores for Sicily, Crete and Cyprus, with the IMO reporting that, since the start of 2016, 10% of migrants who reach Italian shores had left Egyptian ports.

Throughout the summer of 2016 there have been increasing reports of migrants leaving the North African coast attempting to reach the Spanish peninsula by sea, particularly towards Algeciras.

The arrival of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea has declined from earlier this year, due in part to a more pro-active Turkish coastguard and the arrival of NATO vessels in the Aegean Sea. NATO leaders believe that Operation Active Endeavour has helped to reduce the number of refugees crossing the Aegean from 2,000 per day to just 70 per day.