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More sharing of information and close to cooperation among countries in Southeast Asia will help reduce incidences of smuggling and piracy
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Eye-in-The-Sky Over Malacca Straits From Sept 13
September 08, 2005 22:55 PM

By Mohd Nasir Yusoff

JAKARTA, Sept 8 (Bernama) --The "Eye in the Sky" (EiS) combined maritime air patrol to enhance the safety and security of the Malacca Straits will be launched on Sept 13 with the first flight coming out of the Subang Airbase in Kuala Lumpur.

Assistant Chief of Operations, Western Fleet Command of the Indonesian Navy, Col Suryo Wiranto said Defence Ministers of the three littoral states-- Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore -- plus Thailand would jointly launch the EiS, the first ever coordinated multilateral initiative to guard shipping in the straits.

"This multilateral initiative will help to optimise air surveillance of the participating countries by providing intelligence and information aimed at enhancing the immediate action of the naval patrolling units along the Malacca Straits," he said in his briefing at the Jakarta Meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore here Thursday.

He said the aircraft involved would report to the various Ops Centres of the participating countries which would then coordinate among themselves any follow-up action required.

Under the EiS initiative, each state will conduct up to two air patrols per week along the Malacca and Singapore Straits, with each flight carrying a combined mission patrol team that would consist of personnel from the participating states, Suryo added.

Stating that it had been agreed that the EiS was an open arrangement, he said, subject to the consent of the existing participants, other countries too were welcome to participate in the EiS air patrols on a voluntary basis.

Answering questions from the press later, Suryo said even though Thailand was not one of the littoral states of the Malacca Straits, that country had been given the opportunity to contribute jointly in the air surveillance.

He said the EiS would be jointly coordinated in such a way that no days over the 805-kilometre Malacca Straits would be free from air surveillance by one or two aircrafts from participating countries.

The two-day meeting, jointly organised by Indonesia and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ended today with the delegates from 34 IMO member countries and nine observer organisations adopting the Jakarta Statement on Enhancement of Safety, Security and Environmental Protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

The Jakarta Statement, made available to the press at the end of the meeting today, also agreed that efforts should be made through the three littoral states to establish and enhance mechanisms for information exchange within and between states, to build where possible on existing arrangemnets such as the Tripartite Technical Expert Group (TTEG).

The meeting which was opened by Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda was today closed by Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs secretary-general Sudjanan Parnohadiningrat. Also present was IMO seretary-=general, Efthimios E Mitropoulos.


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