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Essay: Sea piracy and anti-piracy policies

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The ‘security’ is multidimensional and complex connotation which is co-existed since human civilization came into being. The security is conceivably a paramount necessity to the existence of individuals and the survival of any nation-state. There is no perennial definition of security to satisfy every age and phase. However, the term ‘Security’ is much hyped notion in the realm of modern international relations, incorporates a range of contested views as a buzzword of the security and defense studies in modern era. The concept of security progressed comprehensively in the post-cold (1991) era, which is commonly described as the paradigm shift to bipolarity to unilateral world order. The phenomenon has emanated globalization as solemn factor to connecting distant entities and catalyzing the global trade and commerce. The globalization has shaped a unique sense of homogeneity in the every spheres of economic, social and political life of mankind and surprisingly revamped the traditional understanding of nation-state and the threat perception simultaneously. The security is central among the issues of national interest and considered special form of politics (Kolodziej, E: 2005). Barry Buzan also reiterated the concept of security as not either power or peace, but something in between (Buzan, Barry: 2009).

There is no universal definition of the concept of security. Edward Kolodziej has compared it to a Tower of Babel .

The realist school, which is described as a prominent theory to defining the state centered notion of security, was called in to question by number of scholars on its changing dimension. In the traditional notion of security, state is confined as a solemn actor and security is restricted only to military terms, where the use of force by nation state is the only threat to another nation. These notions are being challenged due to emergence of non-traditional security threat perception i.e. environment societal, economic and cultural in the interdependent world. These non-military Non-Traditional Security Threats (NTS) are perceived as potential threat to the individuals and nation state as much severely than military terms. These new dimensions of security incorporate number of non-state actor into the matrix of security and loosen the realist conception of security in the growing interdependence among the nation state. The scholars of post-cold war era broadly termed as comprehensive security. The concept of an international security actor has extended in all directions since the 1990s, from nations to groups, individuals, international systems, NGOs, and local governments (Rothschild, E: 1995).

The another important debate over the security forwarded by Copenhagen school of thoughts which Security: A New Framework for Analysis is a book by Barry Buzan, Ole W??ver and Jaap de Wilde The Copenhagen School places particular emphasis upon the social aspects of security. Securities the paradigm under the political, societal, economical environmental and military plausible of security is. The concept of ‘sectors’ concerns the different arenas where we speak of security. The list of sectors is primarily an analytical tool created to spot different dynamics.

The concept of regional security complexes covers how security is clustered in geographically shaped regions. Security concerns do not travel well over distances and threats are therefore most likely to occur in the region. The security of each actor in a region interacts with the security of the other actors. There is often intense security interdependence within a region, but not between regions, which is what defines a region and what makes regional security an interesting area of study. Insulator states sometimes isolate regions, such as Afghanistan’s location between the Middle East and South Asia. Insulators mark boundaries of indifference, where security dynamics stand back to back. They contrast with the traditional idea of ‘buffer states’ which are located at points where security dynamics are intense (e.g. Belgium between Germany and France). Regions should be regarded as mini systems where all other IR theories can be applied, such as Balance of Power, polarity, interdependence, alliance systems, etc.

Regional Security Complex Theory should not be confused with Regionalism, a subset of IR from the 1970s concerned mostly with regional integration. For more on regional security, see Buzan’s Regions and Powers.

(Securitization, developed by Ole Weaver, is probably the most prominent concept of the Copenhagen School, and the one that has generated the most literature. It is argued that ‘security’ is a speech act with distinct consequences in the context over international politics. By talking security an actor tries to move a topic away from politics and into an area of security concerns thereby legitimating extraordinary means against the socially constructed threat. The process of securitization is interring subjective meaning that it is neither a question of an objective threat or a subjective perception of a threat. Instead securitization of a subject depends on an audience accepting the securitization speech act.)

In Security: A New Framework for Analysis, the authors lists the following sectors: Military/state, Political, Societal, Economic, and Environmental. As such, CS theory can be regarded as ‘widening’ traditional materialist security studies by looking at security in these ‘new’ sectors. After the end of cold war (1991), sed with the volume of world trade which necessitated its increasing interdependence on the sea routes for the transaction and conduct of trade. This dependence on the sea route also increases the threat perception as well real threat due to the vastness of the sea routes; more so is this Malacca Strait which is one of busiest sea route for the sea trade purposes. This cause of the tremendous sense of insecurity as a large number of sea pirates operate across that region. The presence of a couple of failed states like Somalia, Yaman, Ethiopia, etc further fuelled the complexity of sea-faring by the container ships carrying trade goods. The recent years have witnessed the number of incidents calling for a serious study on sea piracy.

Security’ is thus a self-referential practice; because it is in this practice that the issue becomes a security issue ‘ not necessarily because a real existential threat exists but because the issue is presented as such a threat’The process of security is what in language theory is called a speech act. It is not interesting as a sign referring to something more real; it is the utterance itself that is the act. By saying the words, something is done (like betting, giving a promise, naming a ship) (Buzan et al., 1998: 24, 26).

The debate initiated by the Peter Chalk in his book ‘Grey Area Phenomena and the Human Security’. The Peter Chalk had framed it as invisible threats to the entire nation state he clubbed the term ‘Grey Area Phenomena.’ It is loosely defined as threats to stability of the sovereign states by non-sates actors and non-governmental process and organizations. All the Gap issues, whether violent or not, represent a direct challenge to the underlying stability, cohesion and fabric of the modern sovereign state. However unlike the challenge posed by the traditional security concerned such as overt internal aggression, GAP threat is of somewhat more transparent and insidious nature ( Chalk, Peter: 2000).

Theoretical aspects of security

The problem of defining security is perceived to be as perennial task of the philosopher since centuries. Thomas Hobbes belongs to the pioneer of human nature description of security understandings; he articulated it just being a human. The material and physiological condition inspire human to get involve an unending vicious circle of securing their interest and preferences. (Kolodziej, E: 2005). The absence of any central authority is ultimately led to a chaotic situation and forced to ruthless behavior of individuals.


Barry Buzan in his book ‘People, States and Fear’ has propounded the three level of analysis of security, where each of these dimensions refers to a different of levels i.e. individuals, state and international system. The first dimension refers to human security, a concept that makes the principle referent object of security the individual, not the state. The second dimension is environmental security and includes issues like climate change, global warming, and access to resources. The third substrate refers to national security, defined as being linked to the state’s monopoly over use of force in a given territory and as a substrate of security that emphasizes the military and policing components of security. The fourth component deals with transnational threats such as organized crime, terrorism, and human trafficking. Finally, the integrity of diverse cultures and civilizational forms tackles the issue of transcultural security. According to this multi-faceted security framework all five dimensions of security need to be addressed in order to provide just and sustainable global security. It therefore advocates cooperative interaction between states and peaceful existence between cultural groups and civilizations.

The security and Southeast Asia

History of Piracy

Legal Aspects of Piracy

There is a common consensus on the determination of maritime boundaries among the nation under the auspices of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. This convention has explained the division of The ‘Maritime boundary ‘ of any state from the baseline is separated into three-sub categories based on distance from the baseline and rights of exploration. The maritime water is measured by the nautical mile (NM) which is measured (1,852) or (6,076 feet) of normal land distance. The distance not extended up to 12 (NM) from the baseline is called ‘Territorial Water’, where countries have full sovereignty to explore all the benefits. Distance of 24 (NM) is called ‘Contiguous Zone’, countries can impose infringement its water laws and tax. Finally, the distance of 200 (NM) is considered as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) , where countries have sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing all natural resources of the waters . Problem of piracy is existed from the ages but problem emerged with more panic attributes with advent of globalization which catalyzed the global trade and commerce and enhanced the importance of Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOC) .

In the early 20th century the piracy was mere considered a normal criminal activity and almost ignored to consider as a serious security threat.

Picture 1: Martime Boundaries


The piracy is perceived as a normal crime rather than any robbery, hijacking, violence or terrorism at the sea. In order to institutionalization and the codifying of the problem of piracy, the first international efforts are known as a ‘Harvard Draft’ which was a voluntary study published in the 1932. This study consists 19 articles where its article 3 defines piracy explicitly:

Harvard Draft

  • An act of violence or of the depredation committed with intent acts with to rob, rape, wound, enslave, imprison or kill a person or with intent to steal or destroy property, for private ends without bona fide purpose of asserting a claim of right, provided that the act is connected with an attack on the sea or in or from the air. If the act is connected with an attack which starts from on board a ship, either that ship or another ship which is involved must be pirate ship or without national character.
  • Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship with knowledge of facts which make it a pirate ship.
  • Any act of instigation or of international facilitation of an act described above in this article.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), article 101, which states that:

a. ‘any illegal act of violence, detention or any act of depredation committed for private ends by the crew of passenger of a private ship or a private air craft and directed;

1) on the ‘high seas’ against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

2) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in place outside the jurisdiction of any state.

b. Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it pirates ships or aircraft;

c. Any act inciting or internationally facilitating an act described in subparagraphs (a) or (b).

The universal acceptance and a well-defined definition are the crux of The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). On the other hand, the problem with the above definition is that, it considers Piracy mere an act which occurs in the international waters or the high seas beyond the jurisdiction of any state. The definition is considered as vague due to its ability to make a distinction between piracy and robbery in the territorial waters and high sea. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), commercial body of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), took it in to account and present a revised definition as follow:

International Maritime Bureau (IMB)

  • Act of boarding any vessel with intent to commit theft or any other crimes, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act.’ (IMB: 1992)

The definition is the comprehensive and according to the changing patterns of post- cold war era. The definition has revamped the traditional understanding of the piracy in the modern era and removes the shortcomings of the UNCLOS definition. The IMB has incorporated new dimensions in the criteria of piracy. According to the Dillon Dana, piracy is generally different in in categories and according to current trend he categorized the in four dimensions.

1) Corruption-acts of extortion or collusion against marine vessels by government officials and /or port authorities
2) Sea robbery ‘attacks that take place in the port while the ship is berthed or anchored
3) Piracy-actions against ships underway an outside the protections of port authorities in the territorial waters, straits and the high seas
4) Maritime terrorism- crimes against the ships by terrorist organizations.

Suppression of Unlawful Activities against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) -1988

The another important effort to make clarify piracy as a global menace as On October 1985, the hijacking of Italian ship SS Achille Laura outside the territorial water in the Egypt was forced to rethink about the shortcomings of the UNCLOS and IMB, which had mere legitimized the action of any country to tackle the issue of piracy but failed to provide a legal base to take action against those persons who are involved to committing crime at the sea. The IMO has initiated a step to take some positive steps to as the Convention on the ‘Suppression of Unlawful Activities against the Safety of Maritime Navigation’ (SUA) on 10 March 1988. The treaty finally came in to existence in the march 1, 1992.

According to its article 3 as follows:

  • Seizure of a ships by force or threat or intimidation
  • Acts of violence against the persons on board ships if that act is likely to endanger the safe navigation of a ship.
  • Destroying a ship cursing damage to a ship or its cargo which is likely to endanger the safe navigation ship.
  • Placing a device that is likely to destroy or damage maritime navigational facilities or interface with the operations.
  • Injure or kill any person in connection with the commission or attempts to commit the above offence.

Types of Piracy

According to several existing trends of piracy in the world, we can differentiate modern day piracy in the following ways:-

  • Thefts and attacks on vessels at anchor or pier side- low-level armed robbery that occurs while ships are docked or moored.
  • Robbery of vessels at sea. Piracy at sea typically involves more violence because crews are detained while the attackers ransack the vessel.
  • Yacht Piracy. ‘Yacht jacking’ is an attack against a private vessel, targeting cash and marketable merchandise.
  • Kidnap-for-ransom. Pirates board a vessel for robbery but also kidnap senior crew members for the ransom.

Geo-strategic location and importance of the Malacca Strait

The 21st century has witnessed an increased volume of world trade which in turn reflects the enhancing dependence on sea routes for the transaction and terms of trade. This dependence increases the threat perception as well real threat due to the vastness of the sea routes. The changing economic and security dynamism of entire Indo-Pacific region enhanced the importance of the Sea Lanes of Communications. 21st century has witnessed increased with the volume of world trade which necessitated its increasing dependence on the sea routes for the transaction and conduct of trade. In the Southeast Asia, there are some important sea route are Sunda Strait, Lombok Strait but Malacca Strait is considered as the major geostrategic centre and a corridor for trade and commerce. Malacca Strait is handling 30 percent of world trade and 50 percent of crude oil transportation through more than 100,000 vessels every year. This dependence on the sea route also increases the threat perception as well real threat due to the vastness of the sea routes; more so is this Malacca Strait which is one of busiest sea route for the sea trade purposes. This cause of the tremendous sense of insecurity as a large number of sea pirates operate across that region. The presence of a couple of failed states like Somalia, Yaman, Ethiopia, etc further fuelled the complexity of sea-faring by the container ships carrying trade goods. The recent years have witnessed the number of incidents calling for a serious study on sea piracy The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Strait of Malacca as follows:

On the West. A line joining Pedropunt, the Northernmost point of Sumatra (5??40’N 95??26’E) and Lem Voalan the Southern extremity of Goh Puket [Phuket Island] in Siam [Thailand] ( WikiMiniAtlas7??45’N 98??18’E).

On the East. A line joining Tanjong Piai (Bulus), the Southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula (1??16’N 103??31’E) and The Brothers (1??11.5’N 103??21’E) and thence to Klein Karimoen (1??10’N 103??23.5’E) .

On the North. The Southwestern coast of the Malay Peninsula.

On the South. The Northeastern coast of Sumatra as far to the eastward as Tanjong Kedabu (1??06’N 102??58’E) thence to Klein Karimoen..


Geostrategic Locations of Malacca Starits


As a major threat to navigation and global trade and commerce, piracy has emerged as a major non-traditional security threat, and considerably regarded as one of the most significant parts of maritime study. The maritime piracy is responsible for the loss of $7-12 billion per year for the world economy.

Piracy in the Southeast Asia in the 21st century

Sea Piracy has become a concern since the time of sea travel become a possibility. But after the end of the Cold War (1991), piracy has drawn attention due to the safety and security of the Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOC). In the post-1990 era, when globalisation has become a significant factor, the rise in the incidents of piracy across every sea route of the world is a matter of great concern. There is a significant economic cost beside the danger involved in piracy, which has aggravated the situation. During the period of 1997-2012, more than 3,800 actual or attempted acts of piracy took place around the world. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has emphasized the sea route to the Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Malacca Strait area where incidents of piracy are most numerous (IMB: 2000).

Around 35% of the world’ sea trade passes through the Indian Ocean. However, sea route is still considered safer than territorial route. Due to the enormity of this maritime challenge, there arises the need for multilateral regional response to this problem because unilateral solution is insufficient to deal with it.

For the ASEAN region the concept of security has always been interpreted differently from the western parameters. Security for them does not confine to military related security alone. Their concept of security incorporates much wider sphere encompassing all aspects of life. Rizal Sukma (2007:2) categorizes the current security challenges facing the ASEAN states into three groups: internal (in) security, traditional Security challenges and the non-traditional security challenges. While explaining this security concerns he maintains that internal security concerns have received the maximum attention of the A SEAN countries. With the focus on state and nation-building, these post-colonial states 1 have defined their threat perception largely in terms of social harmony, political stability, national unity, economic security etc. However, traditional security challenges are not absent altogether. There are issues of unresolved territorial disputes and border problems that might shatter the stable security structure of the region. The most pertinent security challenge in the recent years, nevertheless, is the upsurge of trans-boundary security concerns. These non-traditional threats do not respect territorial integrity and create mayhem among people irrespective of their national identity. This category of security threat is of particular concern in this dissertation. The trans-boundary security threats faced by the ASEAN countries have an interesting dimension to it. These are often exemplified by complex interrelationship internal problems, regional challenges and global pressure. With respect to this, maritime security is one particular area where such challenging complexities areexperienced2

‘ Presently ASEAN countries are more vulnerable from maritime threats.

The reason cited out is due to expanding seaborne trade and terrorism. According to Sam Bateman (2005: 41) the events of 9/11 and subsequent perceptions of a terrorist threat to shipping and seaborne trade have led to a reappraisal of what constitutes maritime security. Therefore, there is lot more attention given to maritime security in the region than ever before. The ASEAN leaders are prioritizing maritime security in their security discussions and are looking for means to enhance ‘securing their waters and sea-lanes’.

This is reflected in the interaction at the regional forums (both Track I and Track II levels) like ARF, CSCAP and Shangri-La Security Dialogue. This study is an attempt at analyzing the ‘Security in the Malacca Straits’, and understanding the politics behind the challenges facing the security of the sea-lanes. An attempt is also made to envisage India’s present status and its role in the region.

1 Except Thailand all other Southeast Asian countries have experienced colonial rule. Western imperialism crippled the region for centuries and Thailand effectively serving as a buffer between them escaped colonialism.

2 There are other transnational security threats as well causing concern in the region like environmental threats involving hazing, drug-trafficking, terrorism, arms-smuggling etc. These Locating the threat of piracy in the Southeast Asia and Malacca Strait

Since piracy has emerged as a central threat to the security of the sea lanes and poses risks to economies. The Malacca Strait is considered as the major geostrategic centre and a corridor for trade and commerce. Due to the transformation of the region into an economic hub, the Malacca Strait is handling 30 percent of world trade and 50 percent of crude oil transportation through more than 100,000 vessels every year. Due to its geostrategic importance, Malacca Strait has become central to major maritime actors such as China, Japan, India, Australia as well as Indonesia, which acts like a bridge. Malaysia and Indonesia are located at the baseline of the Malacca Straits, spread over a span of 642 square mile length and 2.5 miles in width. It covers approximately 2 million square kilometers of water. After the 9/11 terrorist attack on US, maritime terrorism a fundamental concern for littoral states. Maritime terrorism is similar to piracy but it has a political objective to use of piracy as a tool to target the governments by local terrorists and rebellious groups. Example of this includes the, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) hijacking the ship on 17 November 2002 in Philippines water.

There are number of the reasons to the rise of the Piracy which differs from regions specific social, economic and political circumstances.
The Peter Chalk has identified six reasons to the rise of Piracy in the contemporary era.

  • Advancement in maritime navigation technology
  • Security threat after the post-9/11 era.
  • Lawlessness, chaos, and lack of economic opportunity on-land.
  • Willingness of owner-operators to pay ever-larger ransoms.
  • Bribing for the fast transaction of the ships
  • Global proliferation of arms

Rise of Maritime Terrorism in the Malacca Strait

Al Qaeda’s terror strike on aircraft career USS Cole in Gulf of Aden on 2000 and 9/11 incidents was the landmark in geo-strategic shifting. These incidents forced to US to re-engage in the Southeast Asia region due to opening of second front to fight against terrorism. There are number of examples existed, which indicates unholy nexus of Pirates and terrorist Organizations. In addition, Piracy and Maritime Terrorism have also accelerated the pace of proliferation of arms and smuggling of narcotics in the region. Piracy and Maritime are the terrorism the both side of the same coin. Maritime terrorism is similar to Piracy but it has a political objective to use of Piracy as a tool to target the governments by local terrorists and rebellious groups the Maritime Terrorism has a political, ideology, seeking attention, violence. CSCAP defines ‘Maritime Terrorism as a unilateral act of violence at the sea with intention for political or destructive end but not those associated with war declared under the laws of war’. Example of this includes the, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) hijacking the ship on 17 November 2002 in Philippines water.

The term piracy is basically derived from the Greek terminology ‘Peirates’, which have become a major threat after the end of cold war considerably. Piracy is not only the security problem but also reflects the changing social-economical dimensions of any region. The focus of the study is on analysing some very important aspects and implications of the piracy in the Malacca Strait. Asia-Pacific region has experienced a tremendous economic rise leading to the transportation of a large number of cargo ships and containers, which is a major driving force to rise of piracy. The proposed study attempts to understand the problem of piracy, various dimensions and explore the regional responses, implications and efforts to the formation of effective counter-anti-piracy policy in the Malacca Strait. However, since past few years, despite countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have shown great commitment towards wiping out the problem of piracy in the region, it still remains. The study has a well-defined scope, to understand the prospects of the regional cooperation to the attainment of the effective results against the piracy. Despite decrease in the intensity, the problem is still there due to the lack of sufficient resource, regional security cooperation and halfhearted interstate coordination.

The study helps to understand the how financial instability forced people to adopt piracy as a profession. The another important area of study is that the changing dimension of security patterns of the region offered a fertile ground to involve the extra-regional actors like India, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The extra-regional entities get involved in region for their vital interest rather than mitigating the volatile circumstances. The study will trace the implication of these powers in the region than in the view of the ultimate objective to harmonies the region and creating a calm and stable environment. The study will also critically evaluate the fruitful prospects of the interstate cooperation in this regard.

The sea routes are interconnected, that is why constantly deteriorating situation in the Gulf of Aden, Niger Delta, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and South China Sea has been impacting the Malacca Straits. Given that, the focus is upon the changes and strategies that can bring stable environment for trade and commerce via Malacca Straits. The study will analyse the integrated character of sea routes and as a pull factor to the rise of the piracy in the Malacca Straits. The study will also attempt to make recommendations in tackling the problem of piracy as well as helping to find out about newly emerging trends and challenges to counter effectively.

Table 1

Location of Actual or Attempted Attacks of Piracy in Southeast Asia
Locations 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Indonesia 15 40 46 81 106
Malacca Strait 2 2 1 2 1
Myanmar 1 1 3
Philippines 1 5 5 3 3
Singapore Straits 9 3 11 6 9
Malaysia 16 18 16 9 9
Thailand 2 2
Source: ICC Commercial Crime Services

Between 1990 and 1996, piracy emerged as a widespread phenomenon in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Malacca Strait. In April 1992, a Cyprus based fuel tanker, Valliant Carrier, was the first victim of piracy. Piracy is closely associated with the economic and geographical constraints of the Malacca Strait, where the complex topography of the littoral states, provided a fertile ground for the rise of piracy. In addition, most of the piracy incident has shifted away from the Malacca Strait towards the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Macau, and extended zone which is bounded by Hong Kong, Luzon and the Hainan Island, and the so-called HLH ‘terror triangle. A total of 122 attack represents 51.7 percent of all attacks took place in this triangle.

There was a marked increase in the number of piracy cases after the Asian financial crisis of 1997. The crisis was responsible for the widespread economic slump in Southeast Asia and deterioration of social conditions leading to the rise of large scale poverty. It considerably affected the life of the common people, which led to a visible spurt in act of piracy for their livelihood. On the other hand, Indonesia’s failure to take any serious step for ensuring social security and countering the piracy has complicated the issue. For instance, in 2005, the highest number of piracy came up to 122 incidents. One of the most serious incidents was the hijacking of the Panama tanker. In the past the vessel Fu Tai and the cargo ship Tenyu, was hijacked on 5 August and 27 September of 1998 respectively, which had serious security implications.
Malaysia is another most important country bordering the Malacca Strait. It has a vast maritime boundary more than 1,500 miles from the northern end of the Malacca Strait to the southern Philippines border. Malaysian waters are also a piracy-prone zone. As a huge number of commercial vessels enter from the Philippine side, the pirates endanger their security and safety. Malaysia has formed a Royal Malaysian Marine Police (RMMP) to deal more proficient with the threat of the piracy and other maritime problems such as terrorism.
Singapore, which is economically most vibrant country bordering the Malacca Strait, has been grappling with the two fold problems in the form of piracy and maritime terrorism. The possibility of the unholy nexus between the two threats has affected the security of Singapore. Singapore has a strategy to deal with the problem of piracy through strong cooperation with foreign actors to enhance its own capabilities. Singapore has repeatedly emphasised that the primary responsibility for maritime security risks extensively with the Indian Ocean littoral states.

Against this backdrop, the involvement of other powers like India which is a major Indian Ocean power will become central in the order for an effective response to this growing challenge in the dynamism of the Malacca Strait. India has a vital security and economic interest in the region to involve actions of the security of sea lane of communication (SLOC). Over 40% of India’s imports come through the Strait of Malacca. Indian Navy, for instance, has carried out many joint anti-piracy exercises with Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. In order to secure hurdle free transportation of cargo vessels, India uses its Far Eastern Command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to pre-empt a shipping threat. On June 30, 2012, India opened a key naval station, named the ‘INS Baaz’, aimed at enhancing the country’s ability to monitor the choke point and also extending its strategic reach in the region.

Despite the volatile situation since last decade, countries bordering to Malacca Strait have shown remarkable resistance to prevent this problem throw joint cooperation and the total number of attacks tremendously decreased in 2011 and 2012.

In order to eliminate piracy in the region, ‘The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia’ ReCAAP, was signed in November 2004 by 17 countries (Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Denmark, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, the Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam) and a ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) facilitating sharing of piracy-related information has been set up. It is a major achievement of successful regional cooperation. Some important steps have been taken up to protect the pirate infested coastline and prevent the crisis. In this regard, for instance, Indonesia launched a ‘Trilateral Coordinated Patrol’ with Malaysia and Singapore in mid-2004. Indonesia has also undertaken several serious steps along with Malaysia, having deployed two warships as a joint patrol to target pirated attacks in 2005. In addition, both countries have also developed an “Eye in the Sky” operation with Singapore and Thailand in 2006, by which they jointly carry out air patrols above the Strait. These initiatives have helped Indonesia to mitigate the problem and decrease the intensity of the situation. However, the major stumbling block is the lack of sufficient cooperation; there is in fact need for an integrated approach, which can bring about total support in dealing with the problem of piracy.

This study will focus on the relevance, need and the experience of anti-piracy policies in Malacca Strait in view of the ultimate objective of achieving a stable and a peaceful environment in the Malacca Strait. The emerging factors and circumstances that contribute to the prevalence of piracy in the region will also be identified and analysed. Regional response, perspectives, experiences, strategies and policies will also be analysed to tackle the issue of piracy and highlight the issues of regional cooperation in this study. The overall analysis of the threat of Piracy and Maritime Terrorism in the Malacca Strait region indicates that that Piracy is the global phenomena but has a regional implication at a large extent. The Piracy is required a sophisticated region based strategy, which also deals the socio-economic condition of the region particularly the affected country. It is observed that the most of the Piracy incident took place around the failed sates, for instance, Somalia, Ethiopian and Yemen. The nature of Piracy in the 21st century has drastically changed and Piracy not mere a livelihood occupation for the large number of poor people. Most of the organized criminals, gangs and even terrorist organizations involved to use Piracy as a tool to threaten the government and disturbed the economic activities. The long efforts of the government led to the decline of the incident of Piracy in the Malacca Strait and the now focus is Gulf of Aden.

Integrated nature of SLOC requires the sub-regional cooperation because to fight against the Piracy, need to a large amount of money, weapons, machinery and understanding.

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