Governments are increasing their Maritime Security effors
Governments worldwide are boost their efforts to increase maritime protection and fight maritime piracy and maritime terrorism. Among those countries are the USA, South Korea and Singapore:
USA: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Monday, July 13, 2009 the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Frank Drew in Portsmouth, Va., to discuss maritime security and view a demonstration by a Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT)—a Coast Guard counterterrorism unit with advanced interdiction capabilities.
“Maritime security is critical to interdicting threats before they reach our borders,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team is an effective tool for responding to any maritime incident at a moment’s notice.”
MSRT was established in 2004 to enhance the national response to weapons of mass destruction incidents. Prepared to conduct maritime threat response unilaterally or as part of an interagency operation, the team is trained to meet chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.
While originally created to address a high-end threat, MSRT can also adapt to meet the full spectrum of maritime challenges—from domestic law enforcement operations to support of defense activities. MSRT utilizes canine explosive detections teams, tactical delivery vessels, and multiple specialized resources in these efforts.
U.S. Coast Guard deployable, specialized force—including MSRT—were aligned under one operational commander in 2007 to form the Deployable Operations Group. This flexible, full spectrum support provides a ready, rapid response force actively positioned and prepared to operate well off-shore and in our nation’s ports, rivers, and waterways.
South Korea: Korean Navy’s Cheonghae, an anti-piracy unit, will dispatch its second contingent to the sea off the coast of Somalia on Thursday (July 16), the Ministry of Defense announced the previous day.
The second rotation of forces to board the Daejoyoung, a 4,000 ton-class destroyer, will leave from Jinhae Naval Base in Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province) for the Gulf of Aden (off the Somali coast), after a send-off ceremony.
The ceremony will be presided over by Admiral Jung Ok-keun, Korea’s Chief of Naval Operations, and participated in by key officials from home and abroad, families and friends.
Admiral Jung said in his message of encouragement that the second deployment of forces should inherit the proud achievements made by the first one.
Cheonghae’s first dispatch of forces has successfully protected domestic and foreign ships from Somali pirates as many as six times since April.
Recalling the innovative spirit of Jang Bogo, a powerful maritime figure who controlled the Yellow Sea during the Unified Silla (A.D. 668-935) period, Mr. Jung said that the Cheonghae Unit should always do their utmost to provide maritime security for the country’s ships and its people, giving hope to people at home who are experiencing economic difficulties.
The first and second deployments will rotate their shifts in the Gulf of Aden in August and the latter will be on duty through to the year’s end.
Singapore: Singapore’s Police Coast Guard has unveiled a new fleet of ten Shark Class patrol crafts, costing S$17 million each, designed to intercept and fend off intruders more quickly and effectively and increase Singapore’s maritime security.
In the first half of 2009, 143 suspicious boats, mostly carrying smugglers and illegal immigrants, were stopped before they could enter Singapore. Over the same period, police also arrested 55 people and seized seven boats and contraband worth S$845,000 over 18 operations.
Last year, the Coast Guard intercepted over 240 intruders, a jump from 70 in 2007 and 35 in 2006.
Speaking at the launch of the new fleet on Thursday, July 16,2009 Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng warned that the threat posed by intruders cannot be underestimated. “If smugglers who bring in cigarettes or illegal immigrants can come in, then we can safely assume that those with ill intent, like terrorists and other kinds of criminals, may also want to come in, and can attempt to come in. And other kinds of contraband can also be smuggled into Singapore, for example, explosives.”
The new fleet of high-speed 10 patrol craft will go a long way in protecting Singapore’s maritime border.