Senior leaders and policymakers from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam met virtually and in person in Tumon, Guam, this week to collaborate and expand application partnerships maritime law.
Together, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard co-hosted the Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative Commanders Forum Tuesday through Thursday.
The objective of the annual forum is to enhance regional stability by promoting maritime safety, security cooperation, coordination and information sharing. This year, the forum focused on the fight against drug trafficking; illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries; and the strategic use of maritime domain awareness tools to counter these transnational security threats.
“No country can be as effective alone as we can together in combating threatening and illegal transnational maritime activity,” said Rear Admiral Peter Gautier, Deputy Commander, Pacific Zone, U.S. Coast Guard. “International and intergovernmental cooperation is essential to safeguarding coastal regions and our shared waters. Forums like this are key to strengthening our collective ability to bring illicit behavior at sea to light, promote effective maritime governance and law enforcement, and build capacity.
During the forum, representatives from each member country shared their top maritime security priorities and described the challenges they face in relation to transnational drug trafficking, IUU fishing and maritime domain awareness. International experts on maritime crime, fisheries, cybercrime and other related topics provided updates and summaries of their topics to the group. Midway through the event, participating nations broke into small groups to propose new initiatives to address current threats, and law enforcement commanders from each nation met to discuss issues at their level. .
Rear Adm. Ronnie Gil Gavan, Commander of Philippine Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Law Enforcement and co-host of this year’s SEAMLEI Commanders Forum, emphasized the importance of maintaining stronger partnerships between regional bodies. maritime law enforcement.
“Partnerships and collaborations start with relationships, and SEAMLEI proves to be a great incubator for such agencies among like-minded agencies in the region,” Gavan said during his welcome speech.
The forum concluded Thursday evening, leaving representatives from each of the six participating nations with enhanced information, ideas and contacts to take home and incorporate into their own maritime law enforcement strategies and operations.