Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government joined the governments of Singapore and Malaysia as well as other related stakeholders at the 14th Co-operation Forum, held on July 31-August 1 in Paradox Singapore Merchant Court at Clarke Quay, Singapore.

Director of Ships and Sailors at the Transportation Ministry, Hartanto, led the Indonesian delegation comprising his ranks, the ministry's Director of Navigation, Indonesian Transportation Attaché in Singapore, Indonesian Transportation Attaché in Malaysia, and representatives from the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment.

The Co-operation Forum (CF) is an annual meeting, organized and hosted in turns by three coastal states -- Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore -- based on the alphabetical order of their names, within their so-called Cooperative Mechanism framework.

CF is held annually, with the goal of intensifying dialogue and discussion regarding the latest issues related to sailing safety and maritime environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).

The forum plays a crucial role in inter-governmental maritime affairs, as it brings together high-level maritime officials not only from the three coastal states but also from SOMS user states as well as representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Indonesia attaches high importance to the forum, as the country considers it as a strategic meeting where it could reaffirm its commitment to collaborating with the coastal states, user states, and other related stakeholders to achieve common goals under the Cooperative Mechanism.

The Indonesian government believes that through the forum, all parties can encourage each other to work together to deal with issues of mutual interest in the straits, including by implementing their respective ongoing related projects.

During the 14th edition of the forum, the Indonesian delegation outlined the country's view on the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) by highlighting the challenges and opportunities that may emerge during the likely imminent maritime autonomous era.

Furthermore, Indonesia drew special attention to issues related to decarbonization, ballast water management, and oil spill management.

Indonesia, one of the largest seafarer producers in the world, expressed its concern regarding autonomous ships, as such ships are utilizing technology that can control and navigate them remotely from land, thereby threatening the role of actual seafarers.

The delegation then placed emphasis on the need to focus on dealing with MASS and ship decarbonization, issues that have been placed under the spotlight of the global maritime sector stakeholders, added to the fact that the IMO is targeting to finalize and implement provisions regulating MASS on January 1, 2028.

"However, I do believe that the efforts we have exerted under the Cooperative Mechanism will enable us to continue working towards adaptation to overcome existing challenges in the hopes of advancing our shipping industries," Director Hartarto told the forum participants.

Three Coastal States

Transportation Ministry's Director of Navigation, Captain Budi Mantoro, confirmed that the 14th CF served as an opportunity to discuss several matters, such as Initiatives to Enhance Safety of Navigation in SOMS, Technology to Enhance Navigational Safety, MASS, Maritime Decarbonization, Ballast Water Management, and Oil Spill Management.

Delegates of the forum also conferred about Contribution of the Malacca Strait Council (MSC) to the Straits of Malacca and Singapore – 50 years of Cooperation with the Littoral States – by MSC, and Joint Hydrographic Survey of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore – Project Overview – by Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian delegation briefed the participants on the Updates on the 27th and 28th Aids to Navigation Fund (ANF) Committee Meetings and Updates on ongoing Straits Projects under the Project Coordination Committee.

The 14th Co-operation Forum was then succeeded by the 46th meeting of the Tripartite Technical Expert Group (TTEG) and the 14th meeting of the Project Coordination Committee (PCC), which were held to discuss suggestions and measures to complement and implement the projects that have been proposed and agreed upon during the CF.

Pertaining to the Cooperative Mechanism, it is known that the mechanism was initiated by the three coastal states with support from IMO as an initiative to promote the application of Article 43 of UNCLOS 1982.

Through the mechanism, the three coastal states strive to encourage user countries and other related stakeholders to pay serious attention to the importance of ensuring sailing safety and preserving the environment in SOMS.

CF constitutes one of the components encapsulated by the mechanism and is being annually held for intensifying dialogue and discussion regarding issues related to interests in SOMS as well as identifying and arranging priority projects in the efforts to improve sailing safety standards and protect the environment in the straits.

In addition to CF, the mechanism involves two other components, including the PCC, which was formed to establish coordination on the implementation of related projects within the framework of the mechanism.

Meanwhile, the mechanism's third component concerns the ANF, which functions as the collector of contributions from user countries and other stakeholders in managing and maintaining navigation and sailing supporting facilities in the straits.

All meetings of the three components involve delegates of the three coastal states, user states, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Indonesia reiterated its hope that all parties at the meetings would work together to improve the safety standards of sailing and navigation; protect the maritime environment in SOMS; as well as provide safe, open, and clean waters for international navigation.

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Translator: Ahmad Wijaya, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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