Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean officials have met this week in Phuket in a bid to improve their joint campaign against piracy.
The closed-door meeting was the 27th of the Malacca Strait Patrol Joint Coordinating Committee and was held at the Royal Phuket City Hotel.
The meeting comes amid a surge in incidents of piracy in Southeast Asian in areas such as the Malacca Strait and nearby waters.
A small coastal tanker is hijacked by pirates in Southeast Asia every two weeks on average, a report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The region accounted for more than half of the world’s 54 piracy and armed robbery incidents since the start of 2015.
Rear Admiral Chaiyanun Nuntawit from Royal Thai Navy Intelligence told the Phuket News: “This is an international drive to improve security and confidence for users of the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s most important seaways.”
He said that there had already been success, with reports that some pirates have moved their activities east, away from the Malacca Strait and into the South China Sea.
He also told the Phuket News that he believed ships should help one another, by reporting to the authorities if they see pirates attack another vessel.
He also urged ship owners to install panic buttons that would send out an alarm with the position of the ship under attack.
“The ocean is so large, so it sometimes means time and money are wasted getting to the scene. If alarms can be sent we can work more efficiently,” he was quoted as saying.
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