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Jakarta to consider sea marshalls onboard coal-export tugs

Jakarta to consider sea marshalls onboard coal-export tugs
Indonesia is considering deploying sea marshalls onboard coal-exporting tugs and barges as it prioritizes strengthening security for these vulnerable slow-moving vessels that have been hit by a spate of hijackings in the Southern Philippines this year, local reports said.

As much as 15% of coal deliveries from Indonesia to neighboring countries use small vessels such as tugboats and barges, as several destination ports cannot accommodate bigger vessels. However, small vessels are more prone to hijacking, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said.

The government is currently analyzing International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines on the deployment of sea marshalls to guard vessels delivering goods across borders, she added.

“Hostage-taking cases always happen to tugboats and barges and thus we have made them a priority to ensure that kidnappings will not happen anymore and exports can be delivered safely,” Retno said.

Jakarta has also deepened talks on sea corridors to help boost safety. The sea corridors proposal was initiated several months ago but has apparently been plagued by lack of agreement between regional parties.

The officials will coordinate with related stakeholders, including the Transportation Ministry, Indonesia National Shipowners Association (INSA) and the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APB) to urge sailors to be disciplined in taking safe sea routes, she added.