Malaysia-headquartered anti-piracy agency, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) urges for a common worldwide information sharing framework to disseminate crucial details for law enforcement forces to react swiftly and decisively.
“Information sharing and coordinated action between concerned coastal states is crucial in responding to this threat. However, the proliferation of reporting centres in some regions could create a degree of confusion that can leave seafarers and ships unnecessarily at risk,” said Pottengal Mukunda, director of IMB in the recent IMB international meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The IMB international meeting has invited more than 200 delegates from 30 countries assembled on 14 and 15 September 2015 to discuss and curtail the global piracy, armed robbery and maritime security in general. It was co-hosted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Interpol and the Royal Malaysian Police.
Besides calling for common information sharing, the Royal Malaysian Police highlighted the usefulness of conducting a detailed review of the laws and conventions that affect the prosecution of pirates. The Royal Malaysian Police envisions incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) into Malaysian domestic law in order to ensure that criminals can be prosecuted.
MMEA then cited examples of inter-countries coordination efforts in the arrest and prosecution of armed robber gangs as well as hijackers of recent incidents.
Meanwhile, the international gathering also considered the threats created by organised crime, human smuggling and acts of terrorism. This view is shared by the Royal Malaysian Police, who identified human smuggling in the maritime domain as posing new concerns.
Beyond the reporting and response issues, the meeting also addressed other areas of concern such as the impact on seafarers and their families, post-incident protection of evidence, and the regional differences in the pirates’ strategies of attack. As the meeting concluded, IMB felt that the international participants have grasped a better understanding of the maritime situation in the region. This awareness helps to foster better supports and coordination between industry and response agencies in their respective tasks.