Pacific navies team up for safe shipping

Pacific navies team up for safe shipping

Pacific navies team up for safe shipping

Updated 29 January 2013, 18:37 AEST

Regional navies have teamed up to promote safe coordination of shipping in the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.

The Royal New Zealand Navy has brought together regional navies to promote safe coordination of shipping in the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.

The Pacific and Indian Oceans Shipping Working Group met at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland last week and included representatives from 12 countries.

Royal New Zealand Navy Captain, Phil O'Connell, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that while piracy is not a factor in the Pacific like it is in the Indian Ocean, navies must work together to ensure trade routes stay safe.

"Our interest at the end of the day is unimpeded maritime trade in the best interest of our economies in our own member states," Mr O'Connell said.

"Our immediate neighbours around don't have the resources that we [New Zealand and Australia] do to maintain the sea lines of communication.

"The economic wellbeing of our Pacific island neighbours is also of importance to us."

Mr O'Connell said although piracy has been around for a long time in the Indian Ocean, the threat of piracy or sea robbery in the Pacific is "relatively benign".

"These things could always happen, but at this point in time its highly unlikely that its going to happen tomorrow."

Singapore has also made efforts toward negating threats to shipping, with the establishment in 2009 of the Information Fusion Centre.

Both Australia and New Zealand provide a naval liaison officer to the Centre, who work together to share information about potential threats to shipping.

Mr O'Connell said the navies of the Pacific all have the same objective.

"It's about working together collectively and developing a set of protocols and procedures that, should we need to use them, we can pull them out of the draw and turn them on," he said.

"The key issue for us here is around realising that we are all island nations."