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17th Governing Council meeting of ReCAAP Information Sharing Center (ISC) concludes successfully

The 17th Governing Council Meeting of the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre was held from 15 to 17 March 2023 in Singapore, hosted by the Singapore Government. The Council Meeting was attended by the Governors/representatives of the 21 ReCAAP Contracting Parties (List placed at Annex A). The Council Meeting was conducted from 15-16 March 2023 and an open session together with External Participants from two aspiring States and 12 organisations/maritime stakeholders was held on 17 March 2023 (List placed at Annex B).

The Council noted the presentation made by the Centre on the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia for the year 2022. There were 84 incidents in 2022, which comprised 83 incidents of armed robbery against ships and one piracy incident involving a fishing boat, a 2% increase compared to 2021.

The Council noted that there have been no reported incidents of abduction for ransom of crew in Sulu-Celebes Seas since 17 January 2020. The Philippine Coast Guard assessed the reduction of incidents and recommended the downgrading of the threat level from “Potentially High” to “Moderate”. Notwithstanding the lower threat assessment, the Council urged the Centre to continue to monitor the situation, and to issue timely warnings and alerts as necessary.

The Council reviewed the Centre’s activities in 2022, under the three pillars of information sharing, capacity building and cooperative arrangements, conducted virtually in the first half of the year and later in-person with the easing of COVID-19 2 restrictions. The Council commended the Centre’s continued effort in protecting crew, vessels and cargo from piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The Centre updated the Council on its future plans, which are aligned with its vision to be the information hub for combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. The plan includes enhancing data analytics capabilities, upgrading IT infrastructure and Information Network System (IFN), and digitalisation.

The Council reviewed the Centre’s one-year and three-year workplans, Roadmap and budget for FY 2023, endorsed the Centre’s workplans, and approved the budget for FY 2023. The key focus of the FY 2023 workplan is to enhance the competence of Focal Points in timely and accurate incident reporting, information sharing and response by law enforcement agencies through the conduct of collective and individual capacity building programs.

The Council noted the Centre’s external engagement with partner organisations in FY 2022, and the future direction of cooperative arrangements for FY 2023, namely a Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference and Maritime Roundtable in April 2023, two Dialogue Sessions in August and October 2023, and a Nautical Forum in January 2024. These engagements will bring together the shipping industry, maritime community, as well as regional and international stakeholders to suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The Council further noted the capacity building activities scheduled for FY 2023, to be held in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and Thailand, to engage the shipping industry, maritime stakeholders and law enforcement agencies. These activities aim to synergise the Centre’s efforts for the timely and accurate incident reporting and appropriate response by concerned coastal States.

The Council recognised the importance of cooperation with all countries listed in Article 18(1) of the ReCAAP Agreement, and agreed to further promote operational cooperation with those who have yet to accede to the Agreement. The Council welcomes other States to join the ReCAAP as a Contracting Party.

The Council recognised and appreciated the voluntary contributions from the ReCAAP Contracting Parties for the Centre’s activities for FY 2022 as follows:

Australia AUD 100,000
People’s Republic of China USD 50,000
Republic of India  USD 100,000
Japan SGD 219,830
Republic of Korea SGD 163,885.76
Kingdom of the Netherlands EUR 20,000
Kingdom of Norway USD 100,000
Republic of Singapore SGD 1.98 million
United States of America USD 50,000

These financial contributions are in addition to the secondment of staff to the Centre from the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and the Kingdom of Thailand at the Centre.

The Council expressed appreciation to the Centre’s efforts in publishing the Regional Guide version 2, Guide Book on Identification of Fishing Boats in Asian Waters, and Poster with contact details of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) and Focal Points. These publications are available on the Centre’s website (www.recaap.org).

The 17th Governing Council Meeting concluded with a presentation on “Developments and situation update of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region outside Asia” by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Council agreed to conduct the 18th Governing Council Meeting of the ReCAAP ISC from 11 to 15 March 2024 in Singapore.

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