YANGON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is deliberating to form coast guard in order to strengthen maritime security, Deputy Minister of Defense Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe said.
The navy is currently assuming the duties pertaining to coast guard as Myanmar does not have one yet, Myint Nwe told the session of the House of Representatives (Lower House) in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday, according to local media.
When the coast guard is formed, the navy will also take the lead in forming an integrated command center consisting of experts from the Maritime Police Force, Customs Department, Immigration Department, Marine Administration Department and Myanmar Port Authority, he said.
He disclosed that the navy will coordinate exchange of information between these different marine organizations and execute prompt decision to safeguard Myanmar's waters, adding that the navy will coordinate with relevant organizations at the moment for maritime security while awaiting the formation of the coast guard.
The Myanmar government announced in January that it will form a coast guard to protect its 2,080-km coast line and territorial waters.
According to the transport authorities, the new Myanmar coast guard will be in charge of managing offshore drilling and the building of deep-sea ports as well as maintaining the environment and protection of natural resources.
Moreover, the new organization will also deal with "non-traditional maritime security threats", such as human trafficking, illegal entry, drug trafficking, and fishing activities that are deemed illegal or irregular.
The move came months after a mysterious "ghost ship", which had gone missing for nine years, landed in Thongwa township, southern Yangon in August 2018, prompting the Myanmar government to begin discussions to organize a coast guard.
The empty vessel flying Indonesian flag was found stranded in the Bay of Mottama of Myanmar by local fishermen with no sailors nor goods on it.