The Vietnam Marine Police and the US Department of State began a two-week multilateral training course to improve law enforcement capabilities and coordination at sea on Sunday.
Participants from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia are taking part in the program.
Two dozen law enforcement officers from the region and representatives from the US Coast Guard, US Department of Justice, and the Freeland Foundation are in the northern city of Hai Phong conducting classroom training and field exercises to respond to maritime threats such as human trafficking, environmental degradation, illegal fishing, weapons smuggling, piracy, and terrorism.
Speaking at the event, the US Embassy's Political Counselor Mark Lambert said: "Law enforcement challenges at sea will only intensify with the increasing economic importance of the Asia-Pacific region.
"Multilateral cooperation is critical to maintaining a peaceful and stable maritime environment for the economic development of the region."
During the two-week course, instructors and participants will exchange operational techniques for detecting and interdicting criminal activities that take place in the region's waterways, the US Embassy said in a release.
Participants will learn procedures for safely boarding suspicious vessels, detection of smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal fishing, and identification of narcotics, illegal wildlife or forestry products, weapons and "dual-use" commodities, and other contraband. The program will also establish judicial coordination mechanisms for the prosecution of transnational crimes that cross maritime borders.
The Gulf of Thailand Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative was established in 2010 with the support of the US Department of State to identify common challenges and establish coordination mechanisms for maritime law enforcement forces in the region.
The Vietnam Marine Police, Royal Thai Marine Police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and the Royal Cambodian National Committee for Maritime Security are participating in a series of tactical, operational, and commander-level workshops to strengthen cooperation.
The US and Vietnam are actively cooperating to increase Vietnam's capabilities in the maritime domain for law enforcement, disaster relief and preparedness, and search and rescue operations, the release says.
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