The 14th Governing Council Meeting of the ReCAAP ISC (“the Centre”) was held on 13 and 15 October 2020 by virtual modality, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Meeting was attended by the Governors/Representatives of the 20 ReCAAP Contracting Parties (Annex).
The Council reviewed the activities of the Centre in FY2019 and deliberated on its activities for FY2020 and FY2021. The Council commended the Centre for conducting its mission actively and producing positive results in FY2019 under the three pillars of its mission, i.e., information sharing, capacity building and cooperative arrangements.
The Council encouraged the Centre to continue its mission and mandate stipulated in the ReCAAP Agreement and its activities based on its Roadmap, by working together with the ReCAAP Contracting Parties, Focal Points, the maritime community and other stakeholders.
The Council reviewed the implementation of the Workplan and the Budget for FY2020:
(1) The Council noted that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre’s core function of information sharing continued undisrupted through the ReCAAP Information Network (IFN) system and other digital platforms. A key focus of the Workplan for FY2020 is to further strengthen the information sharing function of the Centre. For this purpose, the Centre has started the Post-incident Report to track the post-incident follow-up actions taken by Coastal States such as investigation, arrest and prosecution of perpetrators; and streamlining the work process of incident verification and submission of incident reports.
(2) The Council appreciated the Centre’s efforts to conduct capacity building activities for ReCAAP Focal Points as well as engagement with the shipping industry by virtual modality. This included a Capacity Building Workshop in August and a dialogue with shipping companies and associations in July. The Council encouraged the Centre to continue to use virtual modality as much as possible during the period when physical meetings cannot be organised, due to travel restrictions and border controls.
The Council affirmed the importance of keeping the Centre relevant in the midst of a fast-changing maritime environment. In this regard, the Council supported the activities proposed by the Centre to raise awareness and collect information of maritime terrorism and maritime cybersecurity, considering their potential impact on piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The Council recognised the importance of the participation of all countries listed in Article 18(1) of the ReCAAP Agreement, and agreed to further promote operational engagement with those who have yet to ratify the Agreement in order to collectively address maritime challenges.
The Council was informed by the Secretariat of the update on accession process of France and Germany to the Agreement. The Council supported the intention of both countries to join the ReCAAP and expected a smooth accession process for each respective country.
The Council welcomed the events proposed by the Secretariat to commemorate the 15th anniversary of ReCAAP in 2021. The main event will be the 15th anniversary symposium with the theme “Enhancing Regional Cooperation:15 years and Beyond”, which is planned on the occasion of the 15th Governing Council Meeting in March 2021.
The Council noted the presentation made by the Centre on the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January to September 2020. There were 75 incidents (73 actual and 2 attempted) during Jan-Sep 2020, which was an increase of 39% compared to the same period in 2019. The Centre highlighted the increase of incidents (robberies and petty thefts) in the Singapore Strait and in Manila Bay as well as the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah. The Council underscored that, against the increase of incidents, there is a strong need for enhanced vigilance and cooperation among all stakeholders, particularly law enforcement agencies and the shipping industry.
The Council welcomed the voluntary contributions pledged/paid by ReCAAP Contracting Parties towards the work of the Centre for FY 2020 (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021) as follows:
The financial contribution is in addition to the secondment of staff from India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Thailand, at the Centre.
The 15th Governing Council Meeting of the ReCAAP ISC is scheduled to be held in the week of 15 to 19 March 2021 in Singapore.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
Please Contact Us at：