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Information sharing centre to combat piracy launched in Asia

Singapore: The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) officially launched its Information Sharing Centre (ISC) in Singapore today. This marks the first time cooperation among regional governments, against piracy and armed robbery at sea, is institutionalised in a permanent body with full-time staff.

Main aims of the new centre are to facilitate swift exchange of information between parties to improve incident response, and conduct critical analysis on the piracy and armed robbery situation in the region.

Heading the ReCAAP ISC is executive director, Yoshiaki Ito, while BG (NS) Tay Lim Heng, lead ReCAAP representative from Singapore and chief executive of the MPA, has been elected chairperson. Other council representatives include members from Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Cambodia, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Noticeably absent are Malaysia and Indonesia, which lie on either side of the Straits of Malacca, where many of the reported pirate attacks take place. However, both countries have said they are prepared to cooperate with ReCAAP ISC.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), reported attacks along the Malacca Straits fell from 38 in 2004 to 12 in 2005. In August, Lloyd's Market Association's Joint War Committee (JWC) removed the Straits of Malacca from its "war risk" list that included 50 other countries.  [29/11/06]

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