PH Coast Guard hosts Indonesian, Malaysian counterparts for maritime security meet

Published June 28, 2022, 7:11 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) engaged its Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts in a high-level meeting on Tuesday, June 28, to discuss new ways to sustain the peace and security in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, which provide crucial pathway in the tri-border region.

(Photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard)

Admiral Artemio Abu, PCG Commandant, hosted Vice Admiral TNI Aan Kurnia Sos, Chief of Indonesian Maritime Agency (BAKAMLA); and Admiral Dato Mohd Zubil bin Mat Som, Director General of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), during the seventh iteration of the Contact Group on the Sulu and Celebes Seas (CGSCS) held at the Diamond Hotel in Makati City.

During the meeting, the three officials discussed the finalization of the proposed Tripartite Coast Guard Agreement which seeks to “create a formal mechanism of cooperation on maritime law enforcement structure and operational effectiveness.”

Annually, there are approximately 55 million tons of cargo with an estimated value of at least US$40 billion that pass through the Sulu-Celebes Seas, making it a hotspot for transnational crimes at sea.

“The security environment surrounding these waters has been a gateway for terrorism, piracy, and smuggling particularly in Mindanao,” the PCG said in a statement.

To address this, the Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) created the CGSCS which holds a biannual meeting to implement measures that will keep the region secured and peaceful for merchant vessels and seafarers.

“[The CGSCS] was established to propose and provide solutions to the maritime security and various enforcement challenges in the tri-border region,” the PCG said.

Meanwhile, Admiral Sos also paid a courtesy call on Abu at the PCG Headquarters in Port Area, Manila to discuss how both agencies can further promote peace and stability, capacity building, and other future cooperation.

They also discussed the proposed amendment of the Memorandum of Understanding between the PCG and BAKAMLA on maritime security cooperation which was signed on June 11, 2019.