MANILA, July 2 — Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario called on Monday for an expanded ASEAN-United States (U.S.) cooperation on maritime security, emphasizing that maritime security is gaining greater importance in the dialogue partnership.¬†
Addressing the ASEAN-U.S. Post Ministerial Conference in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, Secretary del Rosario said that in the meantime that a regional Code of Conduct is yet to be negotiated and concluded, the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety is imperative to prevent disputes from escalating into conflict.
‚ÄúFortunately, we have an appropriate mechanism for dialogue and interaction on these matter, the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), which was inaugurated in Manila in October 2012,‚Äù Secretary del Rosario said.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary told the meeting that the Expanded ASEAN Seafarers‚Äô Training (EAST), a program unveiled at the EAMF to strengthen the capacity of seafarers against piracy, will be launched in Manila this year.
‚ÄúThe first EAST workshop will gather stakeholders of the seafarer sector of ASEAN and discuss issues and concerns affecting seafarers caught in piracy attack. It would further support the implementation of the International Maritime Organziation (IMO) Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention and its Manila Amendments. This program will contribute to the enhancement of maritime security in the region, as well as, in the broader East Asian region,‚Äù Secretary del Rosario emphasized.
The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of the Philippines will be the focal point in the implementation of EAST. (DFA)