Bringing Military & Industry Leaders Together to Counteract Maritime Security Threats and Strengthen Regional Collaboration

14 Oct 21

The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) co-organised the 39th Shared Awareness Meeting (SAM) on 14 Oct 2021. This was the second time the IFC and SSA co-hosted the event, which saw strong participation of more than 240 participants from 30 countries, comprising key stakeholders from the shipping industry and maritime security (MARSEC) agencies.

Panel discussion for 39th SAM.

Top row (left to right): Mr Michael Phoon (Executive Director, SSA), LTC Lester Yong (Head IFC), LCDR Sam Yee (Officer-in-charge, UKMTO).

Bottom row (left to right): CDR Eric Jaslin (Commander, Mica Center), Mr Steven Kwan (Assistant Vice President, Dy Advanced Systems, Ewam Bu, ST Engineering), Dr Phillip Belcher (Marine Director, Intertanko)

Head IFC Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Lester Yong

In his opening address, Head IFC Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Lester Yong, highlighted how collaboration with key stakeholders has enabled IFC to strengthen share information to facilitate operational response for maritime security.

“ The SSA is a key partner as it is the leading voice driving cooperation and important initiatives for the betterment of the shipping industry, particularly in our region. ”

- LTC Yong

Similarly, President SSA Ms Caroline Yang also gave an opening address to the 39th SAM participants.

Similarly, President SSA Ms Caroline Yang also gave an opening address to the 39th SAM participants.

“ The international maritime community recognise the need to take a collaborative approach to ensure ships can transit in key water ways and open seas, safely and securely. ”

- Ms Yang

As part of the IFC's AOI brief, the Indonesia International Liaison Officer (ILO) at the IFC, CDR Iwan Hendra Susilo, on behalf of IFC, shared the IFC's observations and assessments on the Theft, Robbery, and Piracy at Sea (TRAPS) incidents in 2021, which primarily took place in three hotspots: the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait, Manila Anchorage, and Jakarta Anchorage. CDR Iwan shared that the modus operandi of the perpetrators involved remained consistent with petty crime, and while some perpetrators were reportedly armed, majority were non-confrontational, opting to flee upon being sighted. He also noted that average monthly incidents in the last quarter had halved to 7 from a high of 13 in June this year.

CDR Iwan’s presentation at the 39th SAM.

CDR Iwan's presentation at the 39th SAM.

Responding to queries from the participants, LTC Yong shared examples of how regional authorities had been actively collaborating and sharing information, particularly through the respective ILOs at the IFC, for more effective enforcement and deterrence measures. Shippers were also encouraged to contribute to overall efforts by maintaining vigilance and adopting shipboard protection measures when in or transiting identified hotspots, and by immediate reporting of incidents/suspicious activities to local authorities and the IFC so as to facilitate prompt responses. 

In addition, there were no incidents of sea robberies within Singapore's waters since 2020 despite the huge volume of shipping that passed through – an acknowledgement of the combined and continued efforts of Singapore's maritime agencies, IFC, and the shipping industry. 

The IFC is a 24/7 regional MARSEC Information Sharing Centre with linkages to more than 100 partners worldwide. Supported by a team of more than 20 ILOs from partner navies and coastguards, the IFC's key role is to facilitate sharing of accurate and reliable white-shipping information to cue timely responses and enhance MARSEC efforts. As part of its shipping engagement efforts, the IFC regularly organises the SAM to update key partners on the MARSEC situation, and share best practices and industry insights to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation amongst all stakeholders, for safe and secure seas.

Graphics courtesy of IFC.