Tackling sea piracy through cooperation
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MULTILATERAL cooperation is needed to tackle the rise of piracy in Southeast Asian waters said Deputy Minister of Defence Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat.
He was speaking on the first day of the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting-Plus Expert’s Working Group (ADMM-Plus EWG) on Maritime Security’s at the Centrepoint Hotel, Gadong, yesterday.
The Deputy Minister said hosting the table top exercises would help address piracy incidents in the region’s waters as it involved key personnel discussing simulated anti-piracy scenarios.
Southeast Asia which carries a third of global trade via 60,000 vessels annually had the highest number of piracy attacks in 2013 according to International Maritime Bureau’s annual report.
“The rise in piracy incidents has added visible pressure on the need to be more vigilant and responsive to address these challenges,” Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa said.
He called on the EWG’s on Maritime Security to explore an “effective mechanism” for cooperation to respond to piracy in the region.
Aside from information sharing between ASEAN and its dialogue partners like China, India, New Zealand and the United States, the Deputy Minister said the joint exercises were “vital” in determining and developing “inter-operability and command structures among the defence forces”.
Progress on reducing miscalculation and misunderstanding in the South China Sea also remains a “huge undertaking” for the EWG, but Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa insisted that immediate concerns and their implications to the region’s security should continue to be at the forefront of the defence discussions.
The ADMM-Plus EWG on Maritime Security is part of a three-day event focusing on procedures of Search and Rescue and Vessel, Board, Search and Seizure.
The meetings also identify existing publications, references and documents that could be incorporated within the EWG framework.
Deputy Commander of Royal Brunei Navy Colonel (L) Pg Norazmi Pg Haji Muhammad and New Zealand’s Director of International Branch under the Minister of Defence Michael Thompson co-chaired yesterday’s meeting.
The Brunei Times