IMO Focus on Maritime Security
Maritime security is a key element of International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s work and, over many years, the Organization has developed a number of measures to help promote and sustain it.
The focus is now on helping countries build their capacity to put these measures into practice, said a press note from IMO.
IMO regularly partners with other agencies to do this. As part of a continuing collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), a national contingency-planning exercise for the government of the Philippines was recently held in Manila (October 18-19).
The objective was to help them implement and enforce maritime safety and security legislation, with an emphasis on countering terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The so-called "table top exercise" was designed to highlight the importance of co-operation among different government departments and agencies. Through a range of evolving scenarios it enabled roles, responsibilities, processes, procedures - and how these may develop - to be determined.
Gaps in current policies, plans, processes and procedures were identified, as well as areas where IMO, UNODC and other agencies might be able to help in the future.
The exercise in the Philippines followed a 2014 assessment by the UN Counter Terrorism Committee. Three other countries in South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam) will host similar exercises during the coming months.