SENIOR Officers from 17 countries met in Singapore to advance efforts to combat maritime piracy in Asia, said the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP).
ReCAAP is a multilateral agreement between 16 countries in Asia that includes the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC).
"Effective response to piracy requires a framework based on a common goal and shared responsibilities," said ISC executive director Masafumi Kuroki.
"The ReCAAP Focal Point Senior Officers' Meeting is an essential platform for the heads of enforcement bodies to deepen rapport and progress towards safer more secure seas for all," he said.
This was the first capacity building activity in 2018 by the ISC, the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy.
The meeting kicked off with 19 senior officers from 17 countries arriving in Singapore to take stock of the current situation and discuss the roadmap ahead.
The participants comprised of the heads of the ReCAAP Focal Points - the designated maritime and/or government agency - from 17 countries.
Officers spent the first day attending the 9th Nautical Forum One of ReCAAP ISC's annual dialogue with the shipping community - and visited the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore's Port Operations Control Centre.
They then deliberated on the current situation of piracy and sea robbery in Asia and discussed how best to harness collective efforts to respond to the evolving threats and emerging challenges ahead.
At the two-day meeting, maritime security programme advisor Sam Bateman, advisor of Singapore's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) programme co-ordinator Kaitlin Meredith addressed the group.
ReCAAP member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the US and Vietnam.