Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have welcomed the success of a 2017 agreement to carry out joint patrols and share intelligence about activities in waters in their region, which was once prone to kidnappings and pledged to enhance the pact.
s part of the agreement, the three nations also set up maritime command centres to collect information and coordinate patrols. According to Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s Defence Minister, the success of the joint patrols was showcased by the fact there were no kidnapping cases in the waters last year.
I would like to emphasise that the TCA has been, and is, crucial in acting as a deterrent against crime-terror acts in the Sulu and Sulawesi seas
he said, saying that proof of its success is the zero incident of kidnapping-for-ransom reported in the year 2021. Before that ReCAAP ISC had informed that there were 10 attacks and six attempted attacks in the Sulu-Celebes Seas in 2016. This had made experts describe the waters as the world’s fastest growing piracy hotspot.
For this reason, the three countries are expected to move forward the deployment of a permanent Trilateral Maritime Patrol Liaison Officer in each country’s maritime command centre to exchange information and monitor and implement maritime and air surveillance.
The ministers also agreed to meet about the TCA at least once a year and to increase the three countries’ overall presence at sea.