Multi-national Exercise SEACAT Enhances Regional Cooperation in Maritime Security

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Singapore: Annual multi-lateral Exercise SEACAT took place from August 14-25, 2023, which saw the participation of naval forces and maritime enforcement agencies from 21 nations – Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

For this year’s Exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), there was a three-day maritime security seminar, workshops on Vessel Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and a week-long sea phase. The seminar and workshops provided a platform for subject matter experts and participants to discuss and exchange best practices to deal with maritime security threats in the region.

During the maritime security seminar, the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) Information Fusion Centre (IFC) provided updates on key developments on the regional maritime security situation. Personnel from the RSN’s Naval Diving Unit and Eighth Flotilla also attended the workshops on VBSS and UAS respectively.

Changi Command and Control Centre (CC2C) became the exercise’s headquarters for the sea phase. There, the IFC and its attached International Liaison Officers worked together with participants from the various countries to sense-make real-time updates on the regional maritime picture to identify vessels of interest in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and the South China Sea.

Debriefing session omboard INS Kulish after the boarding exercise.

The operations centres from the participating navies and coast guards were then cued to deploy aircraft and ships to investigate potential threats, and carry out relevant operational responses to neutralise them. These efforts helped to strengthen collaborative efforts in countering maritime security threats in the region.

Asset Deployment

Exercise SEACAT witnessed the showcase of operationally-ready vessels and equipment from participating nations. Indian Navy deployed guided-missile corvette INS Kulish made its way in the waters off Singapore just in time for India’s 77thIndependence Day celebrations at the High Commission of India in Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL)) deployed Sampari-class fast attack craft KRI Kerambit-627 and a Cassa NC 212-200 MPA P-8201 for the series of drills.

US Navy participants include personnel of DESRON 7, a P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Task Force 72, and personnel from Task Force 76/3, Military Sealift Command Far East, US 7th Fleet, and US Pacific Fleet.

First established in 2002, Exercise SEACAT is in its 22nd edition. SEACAT emphasises strong support for practical cooperation in maritime security and continued engagement efforts with navies and coast guards from the region and across the world. –shp/adj/aaa (Image: US Coast Guard)