August? Really? It's been another interesting week for maritime security. In the Indian Ocean region, tensions between the US and Iran continue to simmer. This week, Iran began naval exercises in the Persian Gulf where they will apparently demonstrate how a blockade could work and practice their small fast boat tactics. The US is watching with interest, as are other regional states.
Staying in the region, it was confirmed this week that EU NAVFOR's Operation Atalanta will leave the UK after Brexit. MSCHOA and Op Atalanta will move to Spain and France, since third party countries can't host EU headquarters. It's a significant loss for the UK. In better news, EU NAVFOR have had their mandate renewed until 2020.
Indian legislators have stepped up and improved the country's piracy laws. Sentences now include life imprisonment and, in extreme instances, the death penalty.
Over in West Africa, Nigeria has been highlighted again as a hot spot for maritime crime and piracy. News that will come as a surprise to no-one. The IMB's recent report underlined the issues in the Gulf of Guinea, but this is all hardly news to anyone.
In South America, Costa Rica has made a major drug bust, seizing two tonnes of cocaine from a smuggler's boat.
In Southeast Asia, the IMO has been running workshops to boost security in the region.
But really, we're all keeping an eye on Iran right now…