Important regional outcomes achieved at APHoMSA
More than 20 countries and 5 organisations attended, making this year's forum the largest yet.
During the meeting, participants reaffirmed the importance of APHoMSA in providing maritime agencies opportunities to share information on matters of mutual interest. Maritime officials discussed matters of regional cooperation, protecting the marine environment, safety at sea, and search and rescue in the Asia-Pacific region.
A range of new initiatives were agreed at the meeting. AMSA will develop a list of upcoming regional technical cooperation activities planned for the next 12 months, to be updated ahead of each APHoMSA meeting, so that activity could be better coordinated within the region.
A presentation by AMSA on the trialling of satellite technology to monitor oil spills was keenly observed by members, who discussed the ongoing regional efforts on oil spill preparedness and the progress and ratification of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
Participants agreed that while APHoMSA has been successful in pursuing its objectives, a more formalised structure would ensure regular and predictable participation by members, and would strengthen APHoMSA's ability to provide strong and consistent messages on issues of importance to the region. It was agreed that the initial membership group of APHoMSA would include those countries in attendance, with a standing invitation being given to key international organisations.
APHoMSA members also agreed on who would host the forum over the next three years, with Fiji hosting in 2014, China in 2015, and New Zealand in 2016.