Who Guards the ‘Maritime Silk Road’?

War on the Rocks – As China expands its global maritime interests, all eyes are on its navy. But Western policymakers concerned over China’s military capabilities and expanding geopolitical role are missing another security solution altogether: Chinese private maritime security companies. Little is known about them, though it appears that the few companies with a public web presence primarily operate across the Indo-Pacific, recruit Chinese military veterans and foreigners alike, and offer a range of armed and unarmed vessel protection services. The foreign companies traditionally dominating this industry, such as G4S, are reportedly losing some of their appeal, with Chinese companies that operate abroad in search of more affordable services and a better cultural fit. By offering services to protect what China calls the Maritime Silk Road, Chinese private maritime security companies stand to capitalize on business opportunities that are “on brand” with Chinese government interests.