About the Information Fusion Centre
Established on 27 April 2009, the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) is a regional Maritime Security (MARSEC) centre hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The IFC aims to facilitate information sharing and collaboration between its partners to enhance MARSEC. Since its inception, the IFC has been at the forefront of providing actionable information to cue responses by regional and international navies, coast guards and other maritime agencies to deal with the full range of MARSEC threats and incidents. This includes piracy, sea robbery, weapons proliferation, maritime terrorism, as well as contraband and drug smuggling.
The IFC's Multinational Collaborations
To date, 111 International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from 23 countries have been deployed to the IFC, and 16 ILOs currently serve alongside its 12 RSN personnel. It has linkages to 71 operations centres from 38 countries, and is one of the four Technical Leading Navies of the Trans-Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN), which brings together the IFC's Open & Analysed Shipping Information System, Italy's Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre, Brazil's Maritime Traffic Information System and India's Maritime Surveillance Information System, to enhance global maritime information-sharing and cooperation.
As an information-sharing hub, the IFC fuses, sense-makes, and disseminates accurate and timely maritime security information. It also hosts various multilateral information-sharing portals and platforms in support of regional and international frameworks. This includes the ASEAN Information Sharing Portal, the Western Pacific Naval Symposium's Regional Maritime Information eXchange, and the Malacca Straits Patrol Information System (MSP-IS). The IFC is also currently developing a Submarine Safety Information Portal, which will enable partners to share and obtain information for the safe operations of submarines in the South China Sea.
The IFC's Contributions
The IFC has strengthened multinational and inter-agency collaboration amongst regional and extra-regional stakeholders. For instance, on 8 May 2016, the IFC was able to inform the Indonesian Navy that the vessel Hai Soon 12 (HS12) had gone missing in the Java Sea. Following which, the Indonesian Navy deployed a warship to locate the vessel. Upon location, the Indonesian Navy proceeded to board the vessel and detain the pirates whilst rescuing the crew unharmed. The IFC, through the MSP-IS, has also been able to support the efforts of the Malacca Straits Patrol in arresting the spike in incidences of piracy and sea robbery in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) in 2014 and the first half of 2015, with only one successful attack in the SOMS since October 2015 .
In addition, the IFC hosts quarterly Shared Awareness Meetings (SAMs) where navies, coast guards, other maritime agencies and members of the shipping community come together to meet, discuss and share their views on contemporary maritime security issues and challenges. More importantly, SAMs provide a platform for the sharing and proliferation of industry best practices, such as Self-Protection Measures for the physical hardening of ships to hamper boarding efforts.
In 2014, the IFC also supported the Search and Locate operations for the missing MH370 flight, by helping to consolidate a maritime situation picture and reaching out to its network of shipping companies via its Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) system to report any debris sightings that could help narrow down the search area.