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ASEAN Regional Forum National Maritime Single Points of Contact (NMSPOC) Workshop 2018

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

27-29 August 2018

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the National Security Council (NSC), in collaboration with  the Australian Border Force and the U.S Pacific Command co-hosted the above workshop. The 3 day workshop was held at the JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Besides identifying opportunities and challenges for enhancement of maritime security among the national NMSPOC, the workshop aimed to develop a way forward by examining policy, operational, technical frameworks required for maritime information fusion centres . MIMA was represented by Dr Rizal Kadir, Deputy Director General, Capt. Martin A. SEBASTIAN, Centre Head/Senior Fellow, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy (CMSD) and Ms Norsyihan Jamal, researcher, CMSD.

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Dr. Adina Kamarudin delivering her welcoming remarks (photo by MOFA)

On day 1, the welcoming remarks for the workshop was delivered by Dr. Adina Kamarudin, Director General Maritime Affairs, MOFA. Dr. Christopher Merritt, Maritime Technical Advisor of US Mission to ASEAN and Mr Christopher Waters, Regional Director of Southeast Asia Home Affairs, Australian High Commission illustrated the need for the workshop.

The plenary session started with Dr Chris Rahman, who delivered a review on the 2016 NMSPOC Workshop in Cebu. The ARF NMSPOC workshop in Kuala Lumpur gathered regional and international participants, including a cross section of officials from foreign ministry, maritime agencies, policy makers and academia.

An NMSPOC Table Top Exercise was conducted to start the workshop. The exercise clearly illustrated the importance of information sharing, efficiencies in resource allocation and leverage capabilities among multiple national agencies.

The three expert speakers were later invited to share their thoughts on their country best practices and commitment were Mr Helmy Ahmad from NSC, Captain Dorne Tipnat of Royal Thai Navy and Mr. Kent Thew from US Coast Guard. Their respective presentations not only focused on challenges and legal accountability in NMSPOC implementation but stressed the need on strategic mechanism in addressing maritime threats.

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Captain Martin during his presentation(photo by MOFA)

On day 2, participants were divided into three groups during break out sessions. Captain Martin was the facilitator in the Operations Group, whilst the US and Australia facilitated the Policy and Technical Groups. The Breakout Groups examined the existing NMSPOCs around the region  and the need for maritime security cooperation particularly on information sharing and maritime domain awareness.

Captain Martin also presented at the last session on the need of an NMSPOC. He reiterated that the formation of NMSPOC by many ASEAN members only emphasises that fact that no single agency can address maritime crimes on it’s own.  NMSPOC will be very useful  against organised maritime crime syndicates. He further alluded the NMSPOC should be an inter-agency outfit with a land-sea nexus. Collaboration between NMSPOCs in the region may uncover the logistics chain of organised crime syndicates.

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Group photograph (photo by MOFA)

The way forward for the  NMSPOC will be discussed later in ASEAN Maritime Forum in December 2018.

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