***** Maritime Security: An Introduction. By Michael McNicholas; published by Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS, item #1773, 703/519-6200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 469 pages; $70 (ASIS members), $77 (nonmembers).
With this new text, author Michael McNicholas provides a general introduction to the field of maritime security. Its primary value is as a survey-course text for the beginning student or security novice in maritime transportation, private security, or law enforcement, and as such, it lives up to its title. Its textbook-style writing, in fact, with clearly stated learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, is reminiscent of high-school textbooks or low-level military course materials.
The book falls short of reaching its broader stated target audience, which goes beyond the student to include the government homeland security official or policy maker and the private sector maritime security professional. However, in its defense, few works can achieve such a universal goal. The text does contain a number of useful chapters with generalized information covering piracy and stowaways, drug smuggling, terrorism, and security management.
Perhaps the book’s most glaring shortcoming is its cursory treatment of the development and application of the 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), both of which form the foundation for post-9-11 maritime security operations. This clearly takes the book out of the realm of usefulness for the homeland security official or policy maker, who must understand the current national enforcement policies, differing legal interpretations, and potential legal conflicts.
For the same reasons, the book also offers little or no specific help to the maritime security professional with regard to meeting the two codes, as well as the Code of Federal Regulations, the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) 2002 Amendments. The book further offers no information regarding potential litigation and government administrative actions.
For the maritime security professional, this book is definitely not a “how-to” text. However, it would serve as a legitimate introductory piece for a student of, or newcomer to, maritime security.