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. This year's exercise will be conducted from 27 August to 7 September 2018, with participants from Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The exercise aims to increase multilateral cooperation and information sharing among South and Southeast Asian navies and coast guards to enhance regional responses to maritime terrorism and piracy.
The field training exercise phase, from 3 to 7 September 2018, will be held in the South China Sea, and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, with the command post for the exercise situated at the RSN's Changi Command and Control Centre (CC2C). At the command post, multinational liaison officers will utilise the RSN's Multinational Operations and Exercises Centre (MOEC) as the primary Combined Maritime Coordination Centre. The officers will compile real-time updates on the regional maritime picture and identify vessels suspected of conducting illegal activities by utilising the RSN Information Fusion Centre (IFC)'s newly enhanced information sharing portal. This is the ninth consecutive year that the exercise command post is situated at the CC2C, and it reflects Singapore's strong support for the US' continued engagement efforts with regional militaries.
The RSN's Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) is the exercise lead agency for Singapore to coordinate Singapore's operational responses to maritime security threats. These responses include the conduct of patrols, and boarding and escort operations in the Singapore Strait to protect and keep Singapore's Sea Lines of Communication open. The RSN's Patrol Vessel and Singapore Police Coast Guard assets are also participating in this year's exercise. They will conduct maritime surveillance of Singapore's waters as part of the MSTF, and will be tasked to conduct escort of specific merchant vessels with information provided by the RSN's IFC.
This year's SEACAT exercise also comprises a Maritime Security Professional Development workshop. Held in Singapore from 27 to 31 August, the workshop provides a platform for international participants to share best practices, discuss case studies on maritime security incidents in Southeast Asia and visit the RSN's IFC. Concurrently, personnel from the RSN are also participating in a Vessel Board Search and Seizure workshop in Manila, Philippines comprising classroom training, practical hands on training and scenario-based boarding of vessels.
First established in 2002, Exercise SEACAT marks its 17th anniversary this year.