ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) today held its annual Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference to an audience of international maritime stakeholders including shipping and marine insurance companies, regulators and law enforcement agencies, as well as the diplomatic community based in Singapore.
In his keynote address, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, former Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reviewed the history of activities of IMO in dealing with maritime security and anti-piracy actions covering the establishment of ReCAAP, Somali Piracy, the Contact Group in conjunction with UN Security Council decisions, Djibouti Code of Conduct, Best Management Practices, and discussed a number of issues from his wide experience dealing with these matters as UN officer working at IMO and in the wider context of Maritime Governance by UN and IMO.
The conference addressed topics that are currently high on the agenda of the international maritime community including:
- Piracy and Sea Robbery Situation in Asia (ReCAAP ISC)
- Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Easter Sabah (Philippine Coast Guard)
- Update on the Indian Ocean High Risk Area (INTERTANKO)
- Maritime Cybersecurity (BIMCO)
- Effects and Implications of Piracy (Panel discussion moderated by World Maritime University)
“In 2018, there were 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia. This was a 25% decrease in the total number of incidents and a 31% decrease in actual incidents compared to 2017. Nonetheless, it is important that we continue to reinforce the ownership of the Coastal States in addressing maritime crime, the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the industry, and the timely reporting by ships, all of which have led to the decrease of incidents in Asia. The topics and speakers of this year’s conference have been designed to reflect the vitality of that shared responsibility,” remarked Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.
“Over the past couple of years, piracy and terrorism in the Sulu and Celebes Seas has been a point of concern for the shipping industry. The valuable counter-piracy lessons learned here, and off Somalia, are worth exploring, and may well be applied in the current piracy hotspot number one: The Gulf of Guinea. The annual ReCAAP ISC conference will surely help us do just that,” said Jakob P. Larsen, Head of Maritime Security at BIMCO.
“The threat from piracy remains, in Asia and also in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) continues to serve an important reference in ensuring ships and seafarers are prepared for pirate attacks,” said Tim Wilkins, Environment Director and Regional Manager, Asia-Pacific of INTERTANKO. “A serious threat remains despite the reduction to the area’s geographic boundaries and so correct reporting, vigilance and adherence to the 5th edition of the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5) remains crucial. Shipowners must remain alert and law enforcement agencies must continue to provide protection to shipping.”
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, highlighted the relevance of the conference, “This annual conference is an important knowledge-sharing platform on risks and threats facing the international maritime community. We discussed piracy and sea robbery as well as relevant emerging technologies, and shared ideas on solving problems affecting ship owners and seafarers. The most useful part of this exchange is on how to work together effectively.”