A multilateral training course opened in the northern port city of Hai Phong on May 13 to improve law enforcement capacities and coordination at sea for attendees from the four Gulf of Thailand countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia.

The two-week course, co-organised by the US Department of State and Vietnam Marine Police Department, attracted the participation of 20 law enforcement officers in the region and representatives from the Coast Guard, Department of Justice and Freeland Foundation of the US.

During the course, instructors and participants will share operational techniques skills in detecting and interdicting criminal activities occurring at sea.

Trainees will learn procedures for safely boarding suspicious ships, detection of smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal fishing, and identification of narcotics, illegal wildlife and forestry products as well as other contraband.

The programme also helps establish judicial multilateral mechanisms in prosecuting trans-national crimes.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Mark Lambert, Political Counsellor at the US Embassy in Hanoi , said multilateral cooperation is critical to maintaining a peaceful and stable maritime environment for the economic development of the region.

The Gulf of Thailand Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative was set up in 2010 with the support of the US Department of State to identify common challenges and establish coordination mechanisms for maritime law enforcement in the region.

Relevant agencies of Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia are participating in a series of workshop in the field with an aim of strengthening cooperation.-VNA