The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is taking part in the annual United States Navy (USN)-led multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise. Conducted from 21 August to 1 September 2017, the exercise aims to increase multilateral cooperation and information sharing among navies and coast guards across South and Southeast Asia. This year's exercise saw the largest number of navies participating, with navies from Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, and for the first time, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
The exercise is being conducted from the RSN's Changi Command and Control Centre (CC2C). This is the eighth consecutive year that the multilateral SEACAT exercise is held there. The CC2C is responsible for compiling real-time updates on the regional maritime picture and coordinating responses to maritime threats through the Information Fusion Centre's information-sharing portal. The CC2C has served as the Southeast Asian Maritime Information Centre for the SEACAT exercises since 2010.
During the exercise, multinational liaison officers identify vessels suspected of illegal activities and alert naval forces out at sea to track and, if necessary, defuse these maritime threats. The RSN's Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) leads Singapore's operational responses, including the conduct of daily patrols, boarding and escort operations in the Singapore Strait and Sea Lines of Communications to ensure maritime security and the protection of key installations and potential targets. During the exercise, an RSN Accompanying Sea Security Team (ASSeT) conducted a compliant boarding of the cargo ship MV Sunny Queen. Search and locate efforts were also coordinated and executed by the patrol vessel RSS Gallant, a Singapore Police Coast Guard patrol boat, and a Republic of Singapore Air Force maritime patrol aircraft.
The SEACAT series of exercises aims to enhance information sharing and coordination of maritime security responses to maritime terrorism and piracy threats in the region. First established in 2002, this year marked the 16th anniversary of the SEACAT series of exercises.