Cooperation among ASEAN members key in global fight vs illegal maritime acts – PCG chief

Published November 28, 2022, 5:48 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

Maritime law enforcment agencies from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should enhance their collaboration to win the fight against transnational crimes at sea and preserve the stability in the region.

Adm. Artemio Abu (third from left), Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, links arms with his counterparts from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam during the ASEAN Coast Guard and Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting 2022. The meeting was held from Nov. 22 to 23, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. (Photo by PCG)

Adm. Artemio Abu, Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), raised the suggestion to his foreign counterparts during the ASEAN Coast Guard and Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting 2022 in Bali, Indonesia last week.

“Information sharing on smuggling, illegal drugs transport, human trafficking, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is crucial in the region’s efforts to maintain law and order at sea,” he said.

During the meeting, Abu and his counterparts from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam reaffirmed their pledge to serve as “driving forces in advocating peace, security, safety, stability, prosperity, and friendship in the ASEAN region.”

Abu said the maritime leaders also recognized the need to enhance mutual trust, strengthen the connection, and improve cooperation among Coast Guards in upholding regional maritime security and maritime safety.

Further, the Coast Guard chiefs also agreed to initiate more meetings, capacity-development initiatives, and exchanges of visit “to boost the association’s information sharing mechanisms and confidence-building measures.”

“This initiative is timely and important in light of the current challenges in the region’s maritime environment. We are optimistic that the ASEAN cooperation will translate into a strong commitment to counter illegal activities at sea and protect the marine environment,” Abu stressed.

The Coast Guard chiefs then signed the “ASEAN Coast Guard Declaration” to cap off the meeting. The declaration formalized their commitment to “promote peaceful, safe, and secure ASEAN seas.”

Held from Nov. 22 to 23, the meeting was organized by the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) and co-sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Maritime Crime Program.

Next year, the PCG will host the Expert’s Working Group Meeting of ASEAN Coast Guards in Manila.

 
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