By Betheena Unite
About a hundred members of maritime law enforcement agencies from different countries arrived in the Philippines Monday for a week-long exercise to boost each country’s measures against sea piracy, smuggling, and others.
Various maritime security threats prevalent in the ASEAN region such as illegal fishing, smuggling, illegal drug, piracy, and human trafficking will be the focus of exercises in this year’s Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), which is hosted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
According to the Coast Guard, it also aims to promote mutual international cooperation between participating agencies from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, United States of America, and the Philippines.
One hundred maritime personnel from these countries will participate in the visit board search and seizure (VBSS), which will be spearheaded by the United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
They will lead the conduct of maritime interdiction operation/vessel board, search and seizure (MIO/VBSS) workshop to level-up the best practices of use of force and demonstration of arresting techniques; and lecture on smuggling trends.
Drills on flex and handcuffing, positive control measures for compliant and non-compliant boarding, and multiple-man room entry, tactical team movement and inspections, and weapons retention will also be conducted. These exercises will be executed aboard PCG vessels.
“Participating countries have sent liaison officers to man the watch team who will facilitate the exchange of information, coordinate surveillance operations, and alert respective headquarters in the conduct of MIO/VBSS operation to the vessel of interest,” the Coast Guard said.
A sea phase activity will be conducted with two tracking and boarding scenarios in the Philippine waters to conclude the exercises.