Leading maritime security company MAST welcomes the initiative, but warns that the burden of responsibility will still be with shipping companies to protect their assets and crews.
In response to the ongoing threat of piracy, Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed suggested that closer cooperation between countries and having armed guards on merchant ships are among ways being considered to improve maritime security in SE Asia.
Gerry Northwood OBE, Chief Operating Officer at MAST, commented: “Responsible governments, like the Malaysians and Indonesians, are taking an increasingly pro-active approach to maritime security because they recognise that national wealth is intrinsically linked to good management of their Territorial Waters and Economic Zones.
“Regional cooperation and allowing armed security teams on vessels transiting through SE Asian waters will help improve a layered defense system that includes the deployment of rapid response teams announced by Malaysian and Indonesian authorities in August after a spate of attacks. Admittedly it can take time before it becomes an effective measure, but this is a move in the right direction.”
He added: “Local and regional authorities need to do what they can to secure a safe environment for vessels to transit through, but shipping companies cannot afford to relax their guard either. The responsibility will still be on the ships and crews to take necessary precautions and ensure security measures remain effective while in transit, at anchor, in port and during cargo operations.”