Piracy In The Malacca Strait

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Piracy in the Malacca Strait: A landlubber’s view of the risks posed by pirates to maritime security and global trade passing through one of the world’s most significant waterways.

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Piracy In The Malacca Strait

  1. 1. Jeremy Stone Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club 8 June 2010 TSS Society Presentation: Piracy in the Malacca Strait
  2. 2. The Malacca Strait <ul><li>Named after the Malaka Empire – ruled between 1414 – 1511. </li></ul><ul><li>Shortest waterway between South China Sea & Indian Ocean </li></ul><ul><li>500 ml. long - bounded by west coast of peninsula Malaysia & Singapore to north; & northern Sumatra to the south. </li></ul><ul><li>25 m deep & only 2.8 km wide at narrowest point. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Economic Importance <ul><li>Main shipping channel linking East Asian economies to India, Persian Gulf, Africa & rest of world. </li></ul><ul><li>Over 60,000 ships transit p.a., carrying: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>33% of world’s cargo. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly 50% of traded oil (14 M barrels/day) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rising trend as China becomes world superpower </li></ul><ul><li>Great news for shipping industry </li></ul>
  4. 4. Shipping Hazards <ul><li>Collision hazards – 34 shipwrecks in narrow/shallow commercial shipping channel </li></ul><ul><li>Low visibility – Sumatran forest fire haze </li></ul><ul><li>Piracy & maritime banditry – long history – robbery, thievery, ship/cargo seizure & hostage taking </li></ul>
  5. 5. A Potted History <ul><li>Historically: A lucrative way of life & political tool </li></ul><ul><li>Geography: Numerous rivers/Islands/inlets & slow moving craft afford tactical advantage </li></ul><ul><li>14 th Century: Pirates loyal to Hindu-Malay founder of Malaccan Empire fended off neighbouring aggressors </li></ul><ul><li>15 – 18 th Centuries: Raids against European spice traders </li></ul><ul><li>18 – 19 th Centuries: Poor economic conditions spurred attacks against colonial powers. </li></ul><ul><li>1830s – 1870s: British-Dutch Demarcation line improved political/economic stability & curbed piracy problem </li></ul><ul><li>20 th /21 st Century: Until recently the world’s piracy hotspot </li></ul>
  6. 6. Anatomy of Modern Piracy <ul><li>Drivers </li></ul><ul><li>Poor economic conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Weak/inadequate government </li></ul><ul><li>Narrow channels/choke points </li></ul><ul><li>Operating bases </li></ul><ul><li>Motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Economic gain – opportunity v. organized crime </li></ul><ul><li>Political gain – maritime terrorism </li></ul><ul><li>Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Criminals </li></ul><ul><li>Organized crime syndicates </li></ul><ul><li>Free Aceh Movement (GAM) </li></ul><ul><li>Jemaah Islamiya (JI) </li></ul><ul><li>Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) </li></ul><ul><li>Mindoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Piracy Defined <ul><li>Dictionary Definition: </li></ul><ul><li>Robbery or illegal violence at sea </li></ul><ul><li>UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982: </li></ul><ul><li>Any criminal act of violence, detention, rape, or depredation </li></ul><ul><li>For private ends </li></ul><ul><li>By crew/passengers of a private ship </li></ul><ul><li>On the high seas (outside a State’s jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Against another ship or persons/property on board a ship. </li></ul><ul><li>International Maritime Bureau (IMB) </li></ul><ul><li>Act of boarding any vessel with intent to commit theft or any other crime; and </li></ul><ul><li>With intent/capability to use force in furtherance of that act </li></ul>
  8. 8. Malacca Strait Piracy Indicents
  9. 9. Asian Piracy 2009
  10. 10. Somali Piracy 2009
  11. 11. Worldwide Piracy 2009
  12. 12. Factors – Declining Trend <ul><li>2004 Asian Tsunami </li></ul><ul><li>Political settlement with Free Aceh Movement </li></ul><ul><li>US Government pressure on littoral states </li></ul><ul><li>International policing </li></ul><ul><li>Better ship security? </li></ul><ul><li>Anti terror operations? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Malacca Piracy in Perspective <ul><li>Malacca Straits: </li></ul><ul><li>Piracy Rate in 2004 – 61.67 incidents per 100,000 ships. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2009 – was 3.33 incidents per 100,000 ships </li></ul><ul><li>Hong Kong: </li></ul><ul><li>Safest city in world </li></ul><ul><li>Violent crime rate in 2009 was 202.5 incidents per 100,000 population </li></ul>
  14. 14. Malacca Piracy Outlook <ul><li>Improved situation depends on: </li></ul><ul><li>Continued cooperation between littoral states </li></ul><ul><li>Regional economic development </li></ul><ul><li>Settlement of Aceh problem </li></ul><ul><li>Continued decline in regional jihadist groups? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Questions

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