The 24th Annual meeting of the Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF) was held in Jeju, South Korea, on 19 May 2015.
Hosted by the Korea Shipowners’ Association, the forum highlighted the rising fuel siphoning incidents on Asian waters but nonetheless raised concerns that some reports may have unduly overstated the severity of incidents in regional waters.
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In the meantime, ASF delegates advised that timely and accurate reports are helpful to the industry and appreciate efforts by regional states and intergovernmental bodies such as the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy & Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) in combating the threat of maritime crime in the region.
“The ASF recognises the commendable efforts of the ReCAAP ISC and is comforted that Interpol is now integrated into the regional anti-piracy team. However, we are still concerned over the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in this regard, and we urge states to do much more to address incidents that are occurring in their territorial waters,” said Patrick Phoon, chairman of the safe navigation and environment committee.
Meanwhile, ASF delegates urged the government in Europe and Asia to address the issues of humanitarian and political crisis involving migrants and refugees, both in the Mediterranean and in Asian waters. It was noted that refugees and migrants pose a serious issue for the maritime industry as the seafarers face many risks when dealing with sick and injured people in their rescue efforts at sea. It was also noted that the possibility exists for sea rescues to be used as an avenue for terrorism. Thus, shipowners were advised to take note of threats arising from the issue and act in accordance with the various industry publications on the subject.