Threats to superyachts, for the most part, are well recorded, typically discussions focus on piracy, theft, drones and cybersecurity, but what of the larger geopolitical threat? Speaking with the private security specialists Blackstone Consultancy, we explore the shifting landscape of geopolitics and the threat this poses to seemingly secure superyacht hubs. The question being what, if anything, the yachting community can do to lessen the risk posed by threats that are far beyond the control of the superyacht market?
“With geopolitics as they are, it is an incredibly difficult issue to address. Nobody, for example, was able to predict the speed of the deterioration of events in Libya, Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean,” begins Simon Giddins, Managing Director at Blackstone Consultancy. “What we will see if the deterioration in these areas continues and, indeed if the situation in other regions worsens, is an increase in criminality, which is one of the key threats to superyachts.”
As global inequality of wealth continues to widen, Giddins explains, the gulf between those who have and those who have not becomes ever greater. This, in turn, will increase the risks posed to superyachts and their owners.
“A key issue at present is that many states in Europe do not have sufficient funds to spend on border security, while at the same time are failing to address the rising criminality that is a by-product of the migrant crisis,” continues Giddins. “The struggling Spanish government, for example, has reduced the number of border security vessels monitoring migration and drugs trafficking from Morocco from seven to two.”
Spain and the Balearics, as has been well reported, is undergoing a period that has seen its superyacht market blossom in part thanks to a number of domestic and foreign taxation initiatives, as well as the development of its superyacht infrastructure. While it is extremely unlikely given the current climate, what might happen if there was to be a serious geopolitical event in Morocco or one of its nearby African neighbours? Suddenly, this burgeoning superyacht market and those clients that benefit from it would be at risk from a surge of refugees that an ailing government will be struggle to deal with.
“Flash forward another 10 years and we will have to deal with issues like the glacier in the Himalayas shrinking, which will cause a number of Ganges tributaries to potentially dry up or shrink. The worst case scenario would result in potential severe famine and a mass migration of hundreds of thousands of refugees,” comments Giddins. “What we are experiencing now with the migrant crisis is set to continue and worsen, unless governments find effective ways to manage the issue. Helping people should be paramount, refugees are not to blame for their circumstances and the criminality that follows is born out of necessity.”
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