Local News from Sri Lanka: The 15th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies High Level Meeting (HACGM – HLM) commenced in Colombo, today (08th October). The inaugural session of this regional conference, organized by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) was held at the Galle Face Hotel, this morning.
Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne graced the ceremony as the chief guest. The Director-General of the SLCG Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge received the chief guest upon his arrival at the venue.
A large number of Coast Guard chiefs and high profile officials are attending the conference this year. The HACGAM is conducted with the participation of its twenty-two (22) member states; Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippine, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam, its associate member; ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) and three observer organization’s; Bali Process, France and UNODC.
The HACGAM is a high-level multilateral meeting of Coast Guards and Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure the safe, secure and cleaner seas in Asian region through collaboration and partnerships. This regional forum was originated by the initiatives of Japan in 2004 with the aim of enhancing interoperability among regional stakeholders in combating common challenges threatening regional maritime domain in traditional and non-traditional formats.
The HACGAM has four pillars that member agencies make cooperative and proactive efforts to achieve desired organizational goals namely; Search and Rescue, Environmental Protection, Preventing and Controlling Unlawful Acts at sea, and Capacity Building by which it facilitates addressing broader spectrum of maritime issues while strengthening and developing own capabilities.
Additional Secretary (Defence) at the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Anuradha Wijekoon, Chief of Staff of the Navy Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, senior Navy and Coast Guard officers were also present at the occasion.
The conference is scheduled to end on Thursday (10).