The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Thursday co-organised a Maritime Roundtable co-moderated by Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC and Amb. Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS.
The topic of discussion, “Is a Single Reporting Centre the Answer to Timely Reporting, and Prompt Response against Piracy and Sea Robbery?” draws on a feedback pertaining to the International Maritime Organization Maritime Safety Committee (IMO MSC) Circular MSC.1/Circ. 1334. This circular recommends that ship masters report all incidents of piracy and sea robbery to the Rescue Coordinating Centre of the coastal states immediately. Notwithstanding, some sectors within the shipping industry feel the need to further simplify this reporting procedure.
Held under the Chatham House Rule, participants of the roundtable include senior representatives from IMO; international and regional shipping associations such as the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), BIMCO, INTERTANKO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), OCIMF, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA); maritime regulatory and enforcement agencies such as the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (Thai-MECC), Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG); information sharing/reporting centres such as ReCAAP ISC, International Maritime Bureau (IMB), and Information Fusion Centre (IFC); and RSIS, a research institute.
The Maritime Roundtable acknowledged that whether or not a “Single Reporting Centre” was feasible, the welfare of seafarers and safety of sea lanes are important, and that piracy must be effectively addressed. The Maritime Roundtable also affirmed the importance of continuing to build the capacity of Coastal States to combat maritime crimes, as well as ways to continue to enhance the cooperation between the regional authorities and the shipping industry.
“In developing the topic for discussion, ReCAAP ISC worked closely with RSIS and the maritime community,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC. “This roundtable provides us with an opportunity to facilitate a frank and open discussion on a ‘single reporting centre,’ which is an issue of keen interest to the shipping community. It underscores ReCAAP ISC’s commitment to bringing together stakeholders from regulatory and enforcement authorities and the shipping industry to hear each other’s perceptions and concerns on the topic. This mutual exchange goes a long way to foster better understanding, deepen cooperation, and enhance maritime safety for our seafarers.”
Amb. Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, commented on the relevance of the roundtable: “I am happy that the event went well. This setting [of a roundtable] proves to be a useful avenue for open discussions and raising of difficult questions among relevant stakeholders. It is a good confidence-building initiative, which we should continue to support.”
The ReCAAP ISC-RSIS Maritime Roundtable was held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week 2018.