Sea Transportation: Uniting Against Pirates

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January 15, 2006: India has become the 16th nation to join the "Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia" (ReCAAP). The other signatories are Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea (ROK), Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

ReCAAP began as an initiative of the Japanese government in cooperation other ASEAN countries. The agreement was worked out in Tokyo in November 2004 ReCAAP commits the signatories to cooperate in establishing a multi-nationally staffed secretariat and intelligence center in Singapore, where information about piracy and other criminal acts against shipping will be collated and distributed to regional navies and coast guards. It provides detailed definitions of the types of criminal activity which it covers, the types of actions that signatories may take against porates and other maritime criminals, lines of communication among the member nations, and legal procedures. As yet ratified by only Laos, Japan, and Singapore, full ratification is expected from all signatories in the next few months, and some other nations - notably Cambodia and Burma - are expected to sign shortly. ReCAAP is another layer in what might be termed a "netted" set of agreements among various nations in the region to cooperate in the suppression of piracy.

 


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