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Hilal English

Exercise Sea Guard-24: Strengthening Maritime Security

February 2024

Pakistan Navy's inaugural Exercise Sea Guard took place from January 10-13, 2024. The Exercise aimed to review response procedures for maritime security incidents, identify gaps, and propose ways to enhance the response mechanism.

During the conduct phase of the exercise, various scenarios based on contemporary asymmetric challenges in the maritime domain were rehearsed. Personnel and assets from Pakistan Navy Coastal and Fleet Command, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), Customs, Federal Investigative Agency (FIA), Coast Guards, Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), and other national stakeholders participated. In addition to practical scenarios at sea, table-top discussions were conducted at the Joint Maritime Information Coordination Centre (JMICC) involving small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), shipping, and the fishing sector.
Exercise Sea Guard-24 aimed to enhance interoperability and showcase shared resolve for ensuring robust coastal security. The conduct of Exercise Sea Guard by Pakistan Navy underscored its commitment to coastal security and its proactive role in collaborative efforts to ensure maritime security.

On the whole, the exercise served as a platform for all stakeholders to engage in tactical exercises, exchange best practices, foster mutual understanding, and improve respective standard operating procedures (SOPs) to further hone their professional skills. In his message, Commander Coast also reiterated the significance of the exercise, stating, "Exercise Sea Guard will surely provide an opportunity to review and align our response procedures, communication protocols, and bring together representatives from diverse maritime sectors of Pakistan, ranging from shipping, fishing, law enforcement, private entities, and academia, thus synergizing responses and creating a seamless and efficient network to safeguard our coastline."
The exercise concluded with a debrief session in Karachi. Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ovais Ahmed Bilgrami, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. During his address, the Chief Guest appreciated the untiring efforts put in by all stakeholders in making the exercise a success. He emphasized that this exercise clearly demonstrates Pakistan Navy’s resolve to address prevailing simmering issues with a tangible way ahead to ensure security in the maritime zones of Pakistan.
Senior officials of federal and provincial stakeholders from the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Ministry of Maritime Affairs (MOMA), Ministry of Interior (Mol), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Ministry of Narcotics Control, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, ANF, PMSA, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Port Qasim, Byco Petroleum, along with various prominent figures from the private sector and fishing community, attended the closing session of the exercise. The participants were presented with an analytical review of the practical scenarios, challenges, and recommendations accrued from tabletop discussions conducted at JMICC.

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