Anti-piracy training for veteran maritime officers

The Singapore Police Coast Guard's (PCG) high-speed interceptors. The new programme to train maritime enforcement officers on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships will include visits to key facilities such as the PCG's Brani base and the
The Singapore Police Coast Guard's (PCG) high-speed interceptors. The new programme to train maritime enforcement officers on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships will include visits to key facilities such as the PCG's Brani base and the Japan Coast Guard Academy.ST FILE PHOTO

A new training programme for experienced maritime enforcement officers, aimed at helping combat piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, has been launched.

The 10-day programme, which targets "senior-level" officers with more than 10 years of experience in maritime enforcement, was launched here yesterday by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC). It will run until Oct 6, with training to be held in both Singapore and Japan.

A ReCAAP spokesman said it hopes to run the programme annually, though this has yet to be confirmed.

The programme will involve the eight Asean members of ReCAAP (the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) - 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 that include handling emerging threats such as cyber security and maritime terrorism.

The programme will also include visits to key maritime facilities such as the Singapore Police Coast Guard's Brani base and the Japan Coast Guard Academy.

ReCAAP ISC executive director Masafumi Kuroki noted that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in Asia has been in decline in recent years as a result of information sharing and more effective enforcement by the coastal states. There were 36 such incidents reported in the first half of this year - a 22 per cent drop compared with the same period last year - the lowest number in a decade.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Anti-piracy training for veteran maritime officers'. Print Edition | Subscribe