What is white shipping information?
- White shipping information refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
- The seas around India abound in vessels of various types ranging from small inland fishing crafts to larger fishing vessels, coastal crafts carrying personnel and cargo and merchant ships of all shapes and sizes that carry various types of cargo.
- Being aware of the identity of these vessels is imperative to preventing any potential threat from the sea from impinging on the coastal and offshore security of the country.
- The 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack is a case in point. Indian Navy has thus been working towards achieving complete Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) along with all other concerned agencies like the coast guard, customs, ports, fisheries, etc.
Why in News?
- Defence officials of India and Philippines signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for exchange of White Shipping Information between the two countries.
- The signing of the SOP would facilitate operationalization of information exchange on merchant shipping traffic, which will contribute to enhanced maritime safety and security in the region.