Good Company

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

New tool against Malacca pirates: Info sharing center

More signs of regional cooperation in getting a handle on sea-borne threat, as set out here:
Brunei should also benefit from an information-sharing centre, aimed at helping Asian countries combat sea piracy in the Malacca Strait and elsewhere. The centre is set to be opened in Singapore next week, the city-state's transport ministry said on Thursday.

A key function of the S$2.2 million facility is collecting data on attacks and making the information immediately available on a secure network. The strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, is a vital link for global trade. Some 50,000 vessels pass through annually. "Piracy is a transnational problem and this is the first time an international body has been set up to deal solely with the problem of piracy in Asia," the Straits Times quoted the ministry's permanent secretary Choi Shing Kwok as saying.

The countries had joined together in a network called the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). It was initially proposed in 2001 by former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi. Members include Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos, Brunei, Vietnam and Myanmar.
One of the advantages of this regional approach is that sovereignty over littoral waters by their adjoining countries is not challenged but the old ploy of pirating ships in one country and then running for protection into another's territory is ended.

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