On the invitation of Kuwait Ministry of Defence and Kuwait Naval Force, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and EastWest Institute (EWI) participated in the 6th Offshore Patrol Vessels Middle East Conference held in Kuwait from October 9-11, 2017. High-level naval commanders & officers, shipping companies, maritime & security professionals from the Gulf region, U.S., EU and NATO participated and made presentations at the conference.
On the final and focus day of the conference (October 11), John Marks, Founder & Senior Advisor, SFCG, Kawa Hassan, Director Middle East & North Africa Program, EWI, Vice Admiral (Retired) John W. Miller, former Commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Manama, General (Retired) Ahmad Almullah, former commander of Kuwait Naval Force and General (Retired) Andre Blattmann, former Head of the Swiss Armed Forces, made presentations about the paramount need for preventing incidents at sea in the Gulf region.
As part of the daily reality in the Gulf, there have been many dangerous incidents at sea in the recent past. Given the tension, escalation, and multiple wars in the region, it is urgent that ways be found to prevent, manage and resolve such incidents.
SFCG, EWI and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs are cooperating on a joint project that aims at mobilizing regional and international support for a document that would reduce risks of unintended incidents at sea in the Gulf region.
The purpose of this document will be similar to—and include elements of—the U.S.-Soviet Incidents at Sea Agreement (INCSEA), the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).
COLREGS which is also referred to as the “Rules of the Road,” are intended to prevent collisions between two or more vessels. INCSEA and CUES are intended to “enhance mutual knowledge and understanding of military activities; to reduce the possibility of conflict by accident, miscalculation or the failure of communication; and to increase stability in times of both calm and crisis, as necessary.”