Despite ongoing incidents of piracy in Asia, international co-operation efforts are having genuine success at containing the issue. Various policy initiatives are showing promise for the security of the region’s sea lanes, now and into the future, Sam Bateman writes.
Since I wrote on the subject of piracy in Asia for Policy Forum in 2016, the situation has shown marked improvement. According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), there were 76 incidents in Asia in 2018 as compared with 203 in 2015. In the first nine months of 2019, 54 incidents occurred in the region as compared with 64 in the same period of 2018, a significant drop by any measure.
Maritime security concerns in the Sulu-Celebes Sea, like kidnap for ransom and terrorism, are expected to be addressed as the Philippines and Indonesia renew their commitment to enforce security in the said sea.
The Philippines, through the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Indonesia, through the Indonesian Maritime Security Force also known as Humas Bakamla RI (BAKAMLA), aim to intensify maritime security cooperation through the re-signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with implementing arrangement (IA) that will be held in Bali, Indonesia next year.
ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Conducts Anti-Piracy Capacity Building Programme for Senior Officers of Maritime Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies in Cooperation with Vietnam Coast Guard ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) in cooperation with ReCAAP Vietnam Focal Point (Vietnam Coast Guard) today convened the Capacity Building Senior Officer’s Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The three-day programme will gather senior officers from 16 ReCAAP Member Countries as well as Malaysia and Indonesia to review the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia including the incidents of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, share specific case studies, and discuss ways to improve the maritime safety situation in Asia.
Complementing the programme is a lecture on international maritime laws and their applications, as well as a scenario-based exercise facilitated by Professor Max Mejia of the World Maritime University.
Participants of the programme will also have an opportunity to have a dialogue with the shipping industry based in Vietnam to better understand their concerns.
“The ReCAAP model is unique because it gives emphasis on information sharing among a network of 20 ReCAAP Focal Points across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States as an approach to fighting maritime crimes,” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC. “Thanks to the regional and international cooperation, incidents of piracy and sea robbery in Asia are decreasing. We will continue to strengthen the capability and cooperation of ReCAAP Focal Points and regional authorities to keep Asian waters—one of the most economically vital in the world—safe for seafarers, ships and cargoes.”
The ReCAAP Member Countries represented at the Capacity Building Senior Officers’ Meeting 2019 in Hanoi are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
To thwart any threat from Islamic State-linked militants, President Duterte has ordered the deployment of more battalions to help keep peace and security in Mindanao.
The President said he had asked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to send 20 to 35 battalions from the Philippine Army, admitting he was worried that ISIS threat in Sulu might spill over to other parts of Mindanao.
MANILA, Philippines – In alleging that much of the Philippines’ drug problem is brought about by piracy in the seas, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday, November 30, that he was ordering the Philippine Navy to kill pirates if they spot them.
“My orders to the Navy, I repeat my orders to the Navy, if they are positive that they are pirates, you blow them [until] kingdom come, patayin mo na lahat at matapos na ang problema ko at ng Pilipinas and so with the drugs (kill them all so all my problems and the Philippines’ problems will all go away, and so with the drugs),” Duterte said on Saturday at the celebration of Andres Bonifacio’s 156th birth anniversary.
A British man and his wife rescued this week from Islamist captors in the Philippines’ south said they were chained and threatened with beheading if a ransom was not delivered.
The couple, shaken but unharmed, shared the details of their nearly two-month ordeal with reporters after escaping during a gunfight on Monday between Philippine troops and the Islamic State (IS)-linked Abu Sayyaf group.
The Philippines and Indonesian militaries are indulged in a five-day maritime training that started Monday to enhance the readiness of both navies in addressing common maritime security concerns and interests.
Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), spearheaded the opening ceremony of the first Philippine-Indonesia Maritime Training Activity (MTA) at the Naval Station Felix in Panacan, Davao City.