New training programme aimed at combating piracy at sea

Participants, speakers and organisers of the Capacity Building Executive Programme, which will be held from Sept 27-Oct 6. PHOTO: RECAAP

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), launched a programme aimed at combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia on Wednesday (Sept 27).

Targeted at officers with more than 10 years of experience in maritime enforcement, the 10-day Capacity Building Executive Programme will be held from Wednesday until Oct 6.

The training, which will be held in both Singapore and Japan, will involve the eight Asean members of ReCAAP (the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) - namely Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - as well as representatives from Indonesia and Malaysia.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: "Together, we will work to keep our waters free from the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships."

Experts from organisations such as the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the United States Coast Guard will share their knowledge in areas such as best practices in information sharing, as well as law enforcement and prosecution against piracy.

The programme will also include visits to key maritime facilities such as the MPA's Port Operations Control Centre, the Singapore Police Coast Guard's Brani Base, the Japan Coast Guard's facilities and the Japan Coast Guard Academy.

ReCAAP ISC executive director Masafumi Kuroki noted that incidences of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have been declining in recent years, as a result of information sharing and more effective enforcement by the coastal states.

There were just 36 such incidents reported in the first half of this year, the lowest number since 2007.

Said Mr Kuroki: "Through the Capacity Building Executive Programme, we want to build on this momentum to enhance capability, augment information sharing and strengthen regional cooperation as we collectively work towards making seas in Asia safer and more secure for all."

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