Govt to strengthen maritime security body

Govt to strengthen maritime security body

The government is planning to issue a government regulation (PP) to expand the role of the Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) as part of efforts to realise President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's maritime-axis programme.

On Thursday, several ministers, including Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Indroyono Susilo and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen.Moeldoko, held a meeting to work out details for the regulation.

Indroyono said that the new regulation would be ready by March this year.

"The team is ready to work on synchronizing drafts for the regulation.

All relevant ministries have agreed to work and finish the draft," Indroyono told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.

In anticipation of the issuance of the new regulation, the government also plan to hold trial joint maritime security operations under Bakamla's supervision.

"The joint operation will not only aim to improve maritime security but also safety at sea and navigation as Indonesia is an archipelagic country," Indroyono said.

Currently, Bakamla has the task of coordinating 12 institutions in the country's maritime sector, including the Indonesian Navy, the Water Police, the Customs Office, the Immigration Agency, Prosecutors' Offices, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Transportation Ministry

Bakamla, established on Dec. 13 last year, evolved from the Maritime Security Coordinating Board (Bakorkamla) armed with more powerful roles and functions, as well as a larger staff and fleet.

Mandated by Law No. 32 2014 on maritime affairs, Bakamla was established as a coordinating body for the large number of institutions involved in the country's maritime sector.

Minister Tedjo said that Bakamla would be responsible for handling all crimes occurring at sea.

"But it depends on the type of crime occurring in the maritime territory.

If it is a customs violation, the customs office will handle the case but if the problem affects the fisheries sector, it will be handed over to the fisheries ministry," Tedjo said.

He expressed optimism that Bakamla would be an effective maritime institution.

The government, meanwhile, expects Bakamla to encounter no budgetary problems.

Tedjo said House of Representatives Commission I on political, security and foreign affairs had agreed to earmark Rp 726 billion (S$79.9 million) for Bakamla's operations.

The bulk of the budget, he revealed, would be used to purchase patrol boats and helicopters.

Presently, Bakamla only runs three patrol vessels, with 30 others vessels still under construction.

The agency plans to arrange nine operations collectively titled Operation Nusantara to secure the country's territorial waters in 2015.

The operations will work based on intelligence data, as well as data from the Bakamla Early Warning System.

On Thursday the institution announced the results of Operation Nusantara I, which started on Jan. 20. The haul from the operation was six local ships that were caught in illicit activities at sea.

Bakamla field officer Hudiansyah explained that the six ships had been caught carrying onions, rice and fuel illegally.

"Four of the ships have been handed over to the investigator. We will start a legal process against those ships as soon as possible," Hudiansyah said.

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