Capacity building for martime security cooperation in the Asia Pacific

This study group is no longer active.


 Aus CSCAP, CSCAP India and CSCAP Indonesia.


Secure and efficient trade is a priority in the Asia-Pacific region which accounts for nearly fifty per cent of the world's trade, most of which is transported over sea. However, shipping and seaborne trade are threatened by maritime terrorism and increasing incidence of hijacking, and armed attacks against ships, as well as by other crimes at sea, such as piracy, drug trafficking and people smuggling.

Current weaknesses with providing the necessary security include: lack of maritime awareness; ineffective arrangements for maritime jurisdiction and enforcement; differing interpretations of the Law of the Sea; weak regional participation in legal instruments that deal with maritime terrorism; and the lack of capacity of many regional economies to implement new standards in ship security, cargo and port security, and seafarers' documentation. The problem is most acute in the waters of East Asia - in international straits, coastal and archipelagic waters which constitute choke points and focal areas with high levels of shipping traffic. The Law of the Sea places no specific obligation on a coastal or archipelagic State to take measures to strengthen maritime security or suppress acts of terrorism in waters under its sovereignty.

Cooperation is essential to overcome current weaknesses and ensure efficient implementation of maritime security initiatives. It is particularly necessary between neighbouring States and between coastal States and "user" States with the vested interest in the safe and secure movement of shipping through relevant waters. UNCLOS Article 43 reflects the principle of cooperation between coastal and user States in respect of the provision of navigational aids and the prevention of pollution in international straits but this does not extend to archipelagic waters or to the provision of security and safety more generally. Effective arrangements would be a significant deterrent to illegal activities at sea. To some extent the incidence of illegal activities is due to deficiencies in existing arrangements, including weak maritime surveillance and enforcement capabilities.

 Specific agenda

The specific agenda of this study group was to:



This study group has held the following meetings.

4th Meeting: 27-28 May 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Download the Chairmens report.

3rd Meeting: 1-3 December 2005, Singapore
Download the Chairmens report.

2nd Meeting: 5-7 April 2005, New Delhi, India
Download the Chairmen's report.

1st Meeting: 7-8 December 2004, Kunming, China
Download the Chairmen's report.