Singapore, as a Contracting Party to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP) and host to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), has recently participated in the 11th Governing Council meeting held from 14-16th March 2017. At this meeting, the Governing Council endorsed the roadmap and strategies to strengthen ReCAAP ISC as a Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing on piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia by 2020. The Roadmap was the result of several rounds of consultations and discussions amongst Governors, representatives from the Contracting Parties and the Shipping Industry.
The Roadmap comprises among other things:
- Use of Data Analytics for ‘Insight of incidents’. Data from past incidents to establish the correlations of variables such as modus operandi, time and location, type of cargo/targets will be harnessed to provide useful insights to the shipping community.
- New programme for Focal Points’ Capacity Building – ReCAAP Executive Programme (REP). This new programme aims to deepen knowledge and understanding in areas such as best practices of enforcement agencies, international laws and cooperation with shipping industry as well as establish strong ties amongst members. The first REP is expected to be carried out in Japan and Singapore in 2017/18.
- More effective communications and outreach to increase the timeliness, relevance of information to the shipping community as well as profiling of ReCAAP ISC. A new media contact group comprising media contact officers from each ReCAAP member state will also be formed to disseminate information and profile ReCAAP in the Member States.
- More regular contact e.g. though such means as tele-conferencing between ReCAAP and Focal Points. This initiative aims to enhance interaction, linkages and communication amongst ReCAAP Focal Points, particularly critical and helpful in the event of personnel changes.
Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore’s Governor to ReCAAP Governing Council, said, "In 2016, the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships particularly in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore have reduced significantly. This is the result of concerted joint efforts by all stakeholders, including regional governments, industry and ReCAAP ISC. On Singapore’s part, MPA will continue to work closely with our enforcement agencies such asthe Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) of the Republic of Singapore Navy to protect our sea lanes. MPA also continues to engage the regional and international community on piracy issues through the sharing of best practices and networking of contact points. In January this year, MPA and ReCAAP ISC jointly organised the inaugural meeting and workshop for key anti-piracy personnel in Asia and Africa and Europe. The aim was to foster closer ties and enable more effective, timely information sharing and communication amongst agencies to ensure safe and open passage for the international shipping community."
Read the media release by MPA here.