Monday, April 6, 2015

Chapter 5: Southeast Asia: Charting its own Course

By Timothy A. Martin (copyright 2011) 

5.1 Introduction

Compared to developments within the Caribbean, Southeast Asian states have sought cooperation as a means to establish security independence. Following the events of 11 September 2001 (9/11), Southeast Asian states had concerns about a lack of consultation prior to an announced security initiative. One consequence of this has been that states have preferred to limit regional participation and exclude a key global actor, the United States. Therefore, a distrust of the United States’ intentions at a time of conflicting interests prompted regional states to make their own decisions regarding security partnerships.

5.2 Security at Sea within Southeast Asia

For the United States, its underlying economic and political foundations are democracy and trade; the interconnectedness of international trade and spread of democracy appear to go hand in hand, despite the United States’ own security interests not always aligning with the national interests of other states.[1] To some extent, the interests of commercial stakeholders, such as shipping and shipping insurers can influence the decision making of maritime states in Southeast Asia. Carrying goods by sea has been a preferred, cost efficient means of transport between trading states. Since the majority of all raw and manufactured goods globally have been transported this way at some point, it is perhaps unsurprising that the United Nations describes international shipping as ‘perhaps the most international of the world’s industries’, serving more than ninety per cent of the material goods of global trade.[2] Nevertheless, all key maritime regions globally have trade routes through which the economic trade of powerful manufacturing states pass. States such as Korea, Japan, China and the European Union (EU) have also sought to protect the commercial shipping by demanding that states provide security through whose territories those vessels make passage. In maritime regions that experience high rates of piracy at sea, the solution for more powerful states has been to pressure states to take action, or suggest the introduction of externally sourced policing into affected regions.
Piracy at Sea
Piracy at sea has been a major factor driving law enforcement at sea in Southeast Asia and therefore represents the region’s premier low-security maritime threat. States within Southeast Asia have similar maritime law enforcement needs as Caribbean states, despite facing different low-security threats. Consequently, states in both regions have tailored maritime law enforcement agreements to meet security cooperation and regime building shaped by context: a specific threat, environment and historical and political factors. Both have also been subject to the influence of external actors, in particular the United States. Within Southeast Asia, maritime security cooperation has been shaped by both the type of relations that states have had in the past, and also as a consequence of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. Worsening lawlessness at sea in Southeast Asia following this event, indicate regions are not isolated from global influences. The legal basis for law enforcement at sea cooperation has been international law, regional agreements and consultation through regional forums. The exclusion of the most powerful state, the United States, from initial participation in this non-traditional maritime security cooperation, demonstrated that in the post-Cold War era, decision-making had shifted into the hands of individual states. In the post-Cold War era, states could choose with whom they collaborated on security matters, and in Southeast Asia, were able to make significant fundamental security decisions about regional security partners.

During the 1990s and following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, global events influenced the attitude of states along the Malacca and Singapore Straits regarding maritime security. Criminal activity at sea, particularly pirate attacks against ships began to challenge the type of cooperation that states were willing to undertake. Although piracy at sea has been a principal low threat security issue globally, incidents generally occurred in isolated areas, involved violence and weapons and consequently required an armed response from authorities. General James Hill, in a reference to illicit drugs trafficking and organised crime in the Caribbean and South America, depicts such low-security threats such as organic developments. Piracy at sea is described by Hill as ‘a weed that is planted, grown, and nurtured in the fertile ground of ungoverned spaces such as coastlines, rivers, and unpopulated border areas’.[3]

Endemic to various coastal regions for hundreds of years, an increase in pirate attacks on ships in Southeast Asia toward the late 1990s raised its profile significantly, prompting changes in the security relations between local and external states.[4] From a low of 60 attacks in 1990, increasing to more than 116 by 1995, the figure grew to 160 acts of piracy at sea by 1999.[5] In 2005, the waters around Southeast Asian accounted for one third of the total pirate attacks worldwide. In that year pirates fired weapons at 15 ships, boarded 149 vessels, took hostage 259 seafarers and assaulted 19. During that period, 12 crewmembers remained missing. In a 1998 report, anglers hauled up the bullet-ridden bodies of 23 Chinese crewmembers in fishing nets. From the missing bulk carrier ship MV Cheung Son, the men remained bound, gagged and weighted down. The pirates attacked the ship in late 1998 in the South China Sea with authorities never recovering the vessel. This attack illustrates the violent nature of this activity.[6] Pirate attacks at sea on shipping in the Malacca and Singapore Straits dropped markedly in the first half of 2006, while they increased globally.

Increases in piracy at sea in Southeast Asia occurred in the wake of international events, including the Asian economic crisis of 1997, and the war in Banda Aceh between Indonesian forces and insurgents. Piracy at sea and terrorism were linked only after the events of 9/11 took place, and the United States’ declared a ‘war on terror’. International resolutions created within the United Nations recognised an association of a non-political crime with political violence. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1456 (2003)[7] have, among other things, noted with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organised crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and illegal arms trafficking. The resolutions emphasise the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, sub regional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to these serious threats to international security.[8]

Although piracy at sea in the twenty-first century has occurred in both Southeast Asia and to a lesser extent, the Caribbean Sea, and more recently off the Horn of Africa, the different level of international response involving naval vessels from several states is often attributable to the situation on land. In the case of some Caribbean and Southeast Asian states, limited capacity limits the degree to which any one state can effectively conduct law enforcement at sea. Piracy at sea off the Horn of Africa in 2007-10, has demonstrated that failed, weak or non-functioning governments with limited capacity or authority provide prime environments in which piracy at sea can flourish. Virginia Lunsford lists five additional factors that encourage piracy at sea.

[A]n available population of potential recruits, a secure base of operations, a sophisticated organisation, some degree of outside support, and cultural bonds that engender vibrant group solidarity. Activities that interfere with the smooth workings of any of these factors weaken piracy’s sustainability.[9]

Therefore, the presence of criminal maritime activities has reflected the political strengths and weaknesses of states in each region in which it has occurred. Piracy at sea is generally unlikely to occur where states are stable, have a functioning judiciary system and possess a maritime capacity to enforce law at sea.

Responsibility for the Security of Vessels at Sea
There are differences between incidents in the Caribbean and those within Southeast Asia, affecting how law enforcement at sea operates, and the reason for states to cooperate. Incidents of piracy at sea have taken place both inside and outside state territorial seas. This has meant that legal jurisdiction and responsibility for security varies. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea (UNCLOS), to which states within Southeast Asia are party, the onus is on individual states to provide security at sea for all shipping that transited or made port within the territorial sea, even where an international strait exists. The state has jurisdiction within it territories but it is also responsible for security in international shipping lanes that pass through its territorial sea. An onus of responsibility for the security of vessels in transit is found in international law. The state’s own municipal law may also refer to the security of the territorial sea security of foreign vessels and crew. What made piracy at sea stand out as a significant maritime crime within the region, was that it affected commercial vessels in transit. Within the Caribbean, increased violence associated with narcotics trafficking on land directly challenged the authority of the state. In Southeast Asia, the blame for violent maritime criminal activity could be placed on the inability or unwillingness of regional states to meet their responsibilities to provide security for maritime vessels and crew that operated within their respective territorial seas, and therefore their respective areas of responsibility according to UNCLOS.[10]

Responses to Violence at Sea
Within Southeast Asia, the association of piracy at sea with violence required an armed response by marine authorities, in a similar way that narcotics smuggling by sea required and armed response from marine authorities. Violence has set piracy at sea apart from maritime safety issues such as navigation, search and rescue or pollution control. Southeast Asia has an historical connection with anti-piracy. Described as one of the world’s oldest international crimes, the international response to piracy at sea has developed alongside its regular recurrence.[11] Responses in the past originated in acts created by European and United States governments. An English Act of Henry VIII of 1516 extended the jurisdiction of the Crown to pirates. In 1615, British courts determined pirataesthostishumani generic––that pirates were the enemy of humanity. In 1822, a United States federal judge wrote that, no one ‘can doubt that vessels and property in the possession of pirates may be lawfully seized on the high seas by any persons, and brought in for adjudication’.[12] In the modern era, the only actors legally ostracised from the political and judicial shackles of the system of sovereign states are pirates and terrorists, legally deeming both as enemies of humankind.[13]

From a legal perspective, provisions within international conventions support anti-piracy measures taken by states. UNCLOS and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) define the actions that a state may take in High Seas Convention, Article 15, and UNCLOS Article 101. Piracy takes place outside the jurisdiction of a state. An act of piracy taking place within the jurisdiction of a state, such as within the territorial sea, is ‘armed robbery’. Presumably, the municipal laws of a state determine the terminology of pirate activity occurring within the state. Under the High Seas Convention, Article 15, and UNCLOS Article 101, the following definition of piracy at sea (emphasis added) includes reference to the high seas:

(a) [A]ny illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed;

(i) [O]n the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or

property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) [A]gainst a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the

jurisdiction of any State;

(b) [A]ny act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) [A]ny act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b)[14]

On the other hand, ‘armed robbery’, that may also be an act of piracy, is defined under the IMO ‘Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships’,[15] and refers to incidents that take place within the jurisdiction of a state (emphasis added):

(1) [A]ny illegal act of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends and directed against a ship, or against persons or property on board such ship, in a place within a Contracting Party’s [state’s] jurisdiction over such offences;

(2) [A]ny act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship with knowledge of facts making it a ship for armed robbery against ships;

(3) [A]ny act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraphs (1) or (2)[16]

Notwithstanding this definition of handing jurisdiction over to the municipal laws of states, not all Southeast Asian states include piracy at sea in their penal code. In May 2009, the head of Malaysia’s coast guard, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), was concerned that his country, at that time, had no specific anti-piracy at sea laws to support improvements to maritime-patrolling. Laksamana Pertama Zulkifli Abu Bakar stated that, charging pirates was problematic, because the current Malaysian Penal Code at the time did not have jurisdiction over crimes that occurred beyond Malaysia’s territorial waters, such as within its EEZ or the Straits of Malacca. Zulkifli noted that Thailand and Sri Lanka did have anti-piracy at sea laws but Malaysia could only use inadequate municipal laws.[17]

Studies that focus on piracy at sea in Southeast Asia indicate that several issues complicate maritime law enforcement responses. The complexities of maritime law, territorial sovereignty and globalised trade all affect the way that marine authorities respond. Links between conflict and terrorism arose from an insurgency in Aceh province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Enforcement of law at sea suggests cross-border incursions by neighbouring states. Hull and cargo insurers in London associate risk with cost, driving premiums up and with it, complaints from shippers to governments of those states who bear responsibility for providing security at sea in adjacent international straits and seaways, such as the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.[18] Although UNCLOS does not specify the maritime law enforcement authorities (navy, coast guard or water police) that a state uses within its own territorial seas, it does offer some guidance as to limitations of authority of states in international waters (high seas). In both the 1958 High Seas Convention (Article 19, to which the United States is party) and UNCLOS Article 105, for seizure of suspected pirate vessels or aircraft outside the jurisdiction of any (maritime) coastal state:

[O]n the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any [s]tate, every [s]tate may seize a pirate ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates and arrest the persons and seize the property on board.[19]

Whilst providing scope for the pursuit of a vessel suspected of taking part in piracy at sea, Article 105 limits the pursuit by maritime law enforcement authorities to international waters, an area in which the naval forces also operate without restriction.

Whereas the IMO regularly issues circulars containing detailed reports of acts of piracy at sea, it has also issued two warnings that support and update UNCLOS anti-piracy at sea provisions. Firstly, a revised Maritime Safety Committee Circular (MSC/C) 622 (1999), ‘Recommendations to Governments for Preventing and Suppressing Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships’, refers to countermeasures available to security and rescue authorities. MSC/C 622 (1999) also includes a draft of the ‘Regional Agreement on Co-Operation in Preventing and Suppressing Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships’ (ReCAAP).[20] Secondly, a revised MSC/C 623, ‘Guidance to Shipowners and Ship Operators, Shipmasters and Crews on Preventing and Suppressing Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships’, advises on measures that may be taken with minimal danger to crews.[21]

Piracy at sea victimizes the crews of commercial and non-commercial vessels and their opinion is relevant to questions about security at sea. Captain Ivica Tijardovic states that in the past, the main physical threat to sailors were bar-fights, accidents onboard ship, or the sinking of vessels, but attacks in Southeast Asia and Somalia, where vessels were seized for plunder or ransom, have seen crews become unwilling incidental victims of pirates.[22] Captain Noor Apandi Osnin and Captain Choy Ngee Sheng state that the main concerns of crews are whether ship owners and authorities are prepared to invest in piracy-prevention measures, and the level of welfare for them and their immediate family if they became victims of pirates.[23] Arguably, it is less expensive for shipping companies to encourage law enforcement authorities to act than to continually pay to improve security aboard ship.[24] In practice, a mixture of both courses of action has occurred but alternatives, such as the use of embarked private security teams, have been controversial.

Maritime law enforcement authorities deploy naval forces because they have a capacity for operating at sea inside and to seaward of the territorial sea. UNCLOS does not limit the authority of states to do so but naval forces that enter another state’s territorial sea cannot conduct naval operations without permission, and risk starting a war if they do so. Additionally, whilst providing scope for the pursuit of a vessel suspected of taking part in maritime piracy at sea, Article 105 of UNCLOS limits the pursuit by maritime law enforcement authorities (as distinct from naval forces) to international waters, an area in which the naval forces might also operate under certain circumstances. Naval forces present a threat to the sovereignty of states, and foreign marine law enforcement authority represents a challenge to state authority. Law enforcement authorities prioritise prevention of crime, and investigation of incidents involving crime, to pursue and arrest those suspected of carrying out criminal acts. In both the 1958 High Seas Convention (Article 19), to which the United States is also party, and UNCLOS Article 105, some guidance is given concerning seizure of a suspected pirate vessel or aircraft outside the jurisdiction of any (maritime) coastal state.

Other Disputes and Claims

Another side to the question of intent and territorial sovereignty is that significant concerns have arisen when enforcing law at sea with respect to the ability of authorities to conduct ‘hot pursuits’ of suspect vessels. The issue of hot pursuit has been an important facet of maritime law enforcement agreements in both the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, and although guidance is provided in UNCLOS Article 111, it has had its criticism of being too inflexible.[25] Craig H. Allen argued in 1989 that UNCLOS was too restrictive and mechanical a doctrine and that the right of hot pursuit should be more adaptable and flexible to allow ‘innovative approaches to maritime law enforcement without compromising the right of legitimate vessels to navigate freely on the high seas’. Allen considered that changing technology and differences in technologies allowed increased and varied means to be used to track and pursue suspect vessels at sea. Rules for maritime law enforcement must also be flexible rather than fixed doctrine.[26]

Territorial limits are usually a result of negotiation or outcomes of tribunals or are allowable under UNCLOS but sovereignty is a sensitive issue and international law can only ever be a guide for the behaviour of states.[27] In the Caribbean, all states claim a twelve nautical mile territorial sea, and many claim contiguous and exclusive economic zones (EEZs), despite the small size of many of these islands and their proximity to neighbouring states.[28] Within Southeast Asia, Indonesia borders ten states, Malaysia borders five states and Singapore borders two states; Singapore claims twelve nautical miles for its territorial sea but due to its close proximity to its larger neighbours, does not claim a contiguous zone or an EEZ.[29] By comparison, Indonesia and Malaysia claim 12 nautical mile territorial seas, and although they do not claim contiguous zones, both
claim 200 nautical mile EEZs.[30] Additionally, Malaysia claims minerals Exploration Rights extending to 200 nautical miles.[31] These territorial claims have caused friction between neighbouring states. For instance, when Malaysia was in dispute with Indonesia regarding oil rights off the east coast of Sabah and Kalimantan in the Ambalat region during February 2005, both states relied on their own naval presence to back strong diplomatic overtures.[32] Although not coming to blows, the continual expansion of the island state of Singapore, through mining sand under lease agreements with Indonesia, has at times created friction with its neighbour. Therefore, while UNCLOS provides a legal regime, it does not prevent states from taking diplomatic, legal or military action, in order to protect national interests.

In the case of states with waterways in common, negotiation is constantly occurring, beyond the territorial sea, law enforcement is even less clear-cut and international law acts as a guide rather than doctrine. In Southeast Asia’s Malacca and Singapore Straits, a 2008 legal dispute over Pedra Branca lighthouse in the Singapore Straits was only resolved through taking the case to an international tribunal.[33] Jurisdiction of states is limited in the contiguous sea, and to the protection of resources in the EEZ, dependent on the capacity of states to project power to seaward. UNCLOS, Section 2, ‘Limits of Territorial Sea’, Article 15 illustrates that international law is open to negotiation and dispute, occasionally requiring clarification on the physical location of borders;

[w]here the coasts of two [s]tates are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither of the two States is entitled ... to extend its territorial sea beyond the median line every point of that is equidistant from the nearest points on the baselines from that the breadth of the territorial seas of each of the two [s]tates is measured.[34]

Although the Malacca and Singapore Straits are subject to the laws and regulations of international law incorporated within UNCLOS, the security of vessels within the territorial seas of states have largely been the responsibility the states themselves. The territorial sea is not in itself a barrier to vessels transiting even extensive archipelagic regions such as the Caribbean Sea and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, or warships and other authorities transiting EEZs. The United States Department of Defense refers to the territorial sea and sea-lanes of archipelagos, granting states sovereign jurisdiction subject to ‘the right of innocent passage’ through ‘international straits’ which comprise the sea lanes that continue through territorial seas or archipelagos.[35]
Linking Terrorism with Piracy

Other challenges to states in Southeast Asia arose from the events of 9/11, linking existing crime at sea with United States’ ‘war on terror’. Attracting international attention, regional states already supported existing legal conventions, such as the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988 (SUA). An incident that made a connection between piracy at sea and terrorism resulted in changes to international maritime law in 1985. During that year, Palestinian Liberation Front members hijacked the passenger vessel Achille Lauro. Consequently, 400 passengers and crew were threatened and a wheelchair-bound man killed and dumped overboard. Although demanding that Israel release 50 Palestinian prisoners, after a cat-and-mouse pursuit, authorities from Italy and the United States eventually arrested the hijackers. Interestingly, arrest warrants issued in Washington DC were for the crimes of hostage-taking, piracy at sea and conspiracy, highlighting the omission of terrorism as a crime within the United States at that time. This was similar to the situation in Malaysia regarding piracy more than two decades later, where municipal laws had not caught up with international convention. Terrorism was not new but the hijack of a ship at sea was, in the mid-1980s, a conspiracy to commit piracy at sea.[36] From this incident, the SUA was created, which specifically linked acts of violence against ships with terrorism and acts of piracy at sea, paving the way for terrorism to be recognised in international (and also municipal) law.[37]

Terrorism has characteristically been an assumption of violent political threat behaviour, whereas piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea presents a threat of violent crime. Nevertheless, through the inclusion of piracy at sea into the United States-led widening and redefinition of the security lexicon, piracy at sea had also become a threat against the state, influencing the way that states within Southeast Asia chose to cooperate with each other and with external states. Graham Gerard Ong argues that overlapping characteristics accompany crime at sea. Ong refers to the presence of violence, use of the peculiarities of the sea environment, and the impact and legal status of each.[38] Brian Fort, points out that piracy at sea and terrorism are also major areas of criminal investigation, and that money is often at the heart of both.[39] However, Ong makes a basic observation that pirates differ to terrorists because one is interested in sustained trade while the other often pursues a ‘pyrrhic victory'.[40]
As a more recent, regional maritime threat that arose after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there are few documented maritime-related terrorist incidents to support the attention it receives. Terrorism associated maritime criminal activities, including piracy at sea, smuggling and human trafficking with violence against the states. Although contentious, conflation of piracy and terrorism was probable after several attacks against vessels took place.[41] Together with the American war on terror, escalating tensions in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, when military force in Afghanistan and Iraq gave the appearance of a war on Islam the probability of terrorists using pirate tactics could not be ruled out. Associating piracy at sea with terrorism presumed that a military response was as appropriate as law enforcement, policing operations. Informed by incidents of piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea within Southeast Asia, certain media assisted the perception of a conflation of terrorism and piracy by speculating that pirates could assist in mounting a major terrorist attack on the scale of the ‘apocalyptic’ 9/11 terrorist attacks. In this scenario, pirates would employ non-military transport, tugboats and fuel barges. With a pirate’s knowledge of the sea to steal a ship carrying a volatile cargo, terrorists might target a port area in which to set off an explosion.[42] Consequently, from incidents such as the following example from March 2003, terrorism and piracy at sea became a single threat, despite a largely speculative foundation. In 2003, intruders boarded a chemical tanker, the 3,900 gross tonne Indonesian-registered MV Dewi Madrim off the coast of Sumatra. For one hour, the pirates took control of the vessel and used its bridge navigation equipment, before kidnapping the master (captain) and first officer and departing the ship. It was an unusual incident due to the intruder’s apparent seamanship. It was an odd conclusion since pirates are often fisher folk, and therefore familiar with operating vessels at sea.[43]

Without a clear political motive attached to such pirate attacks, the conflation theory did not attract regional consensus. Noel Choong, who was involved in a daily catalogue of piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea on shipping, rejected the conflation concept. In an interview with the Taipei Times in July 2005, Choong, head of the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre, denied seeing any evidence that would link pirates and terrorists, or that they were planning attacks on ships.[44] Joshua Ho argues the distinction that financial gain motivates pirates, whereas those using terrorism are religiously motivated to seek redress for perceived injustices, measuring success by their ability to affect political change.[45] An example of an incident that did suggest terrorism occurred in June 2008. It is an incident drawing a fine line between incident, assumption and misinterpretation in a period of heightened alert. On that occasion, an Indonesian naval patrol boat intercepted a wooden vessel, headed for West Sulawesi off the coast of East Java, carrying a five tonne cargo of an oxidising substance. Because of the nature of the cargo, a very large amount of material, it aroused the suspicion of an Indonesian navy officer. Although earmarked to make explosives for the common regional practice of killing fish, and despite his suspicions, the naval officer allowed the vessel to proceed.[46]

Although piracy at sea often involved violence and terrified crews, the attacks in Southeast Asia did not appear to be politically motivated. Nor was it linked to the type of terrorism against which the United States had declared war. Consequently, although the United States-led ‘war on terror’ after 9/11’ heightened the expected level of alertness of regional policing authorities, it also challenged Southeast Asian actor’s perceptions of piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea as a threat. Piracy at sea had previously been considered simply violent armed robbery at sea, regardless of motive, and had not been considered a political crime prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks; consequently, it had been treated as a low priority issue. ‘War on terror’ became a contentious issue for Indonesia and Malaysia because it reinforced anti-Islamic attitudes by associating ‘Islam’ with ‘terrorism’ in western rhetoric and media. As the formerly non-political crime of piracy became associated, through various media, with terrorism, it was politicised. Since Indonesia had been moving toward liberal reform at a cost to successive governments, increasingly influenced by public opinion, sensitivity to an association of organised, illegal activities with Islam did not help support any proposed security proposals by the United States. For predominantly Muslim populated Indonesia and Malaysia, religion had already been a divisive issue domestically. Internal security since the late 1990s had been part of the carefully cultured political projection of Southeast Asian stability prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent global pursuit of terrorism. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, it became difficult for Malaysia and Indonesia to ignore the external and internal political pressure of the United States anti-terrorism war. It was not the only reason for rejecting a security proposal by the United States but a significant issue that Southeast Asian states had to consider.

Singapore, on the other hand, actively pursued anti-terrorism measures in response to the war on terrorism. The Singaporean government prioritised economic stability, taking a proactive approach to maritime security and anti-terrorism, and maintaining good relations with the United States. The issue of Islam was not a major concern amongst its largely Christian and Buddhist citizens and relatively small population of Muslim citizens. Terrorism, when associated with piracy at sea, had the potential to threaten Singapore’s capacity as a major secure transhipment and oil processing port requiring stability of maritime trade. In 2004, Singapore officially agreed to the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) – it was during a period of heightened threat of conflated terrorism and piracy within Southeast Asia, and increasingly reported pirate attacks at sea.

Therefore, largely due to the reactions of the United States government in the wake of 9/11, a political threat had been linked to a non-political crime in Southeast Asia. Conflating maritime terrorism and piracy at sea had changed the principles, norms and rules of security behaviour of Southeast Asia’s states. This was similar to the way that politicisation of narcotics smuggling by the United States, a law enforcement issue that was also linked to terrorism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had caused change within the Caribbean. Governments of states in neither region had been able to ignore maritime criminal activities that deemed to have political ramifications.

5.3 Geography, Economics and Security at Sea

The Challenge of Geography

In part, the scale of Southeast Asia’s geography amplifies the limited capacity of states to respond to low-security, maritime threats. Because of its significance as a trading region, maritime criminal activities, especially piracy at sea, threaten the safe passage of commercial vessels through Southeast Asia. Bearing some similarities to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia comprises vast maritime expanses with dispersed territories and isolated tracts that favour criminal activity; multiple jurisdictions also complicate law enforcement operations at sea. Although the Malacca and Singapore Straits together comprise a maritime area extending for more than 500 nautical miles from the eastern Indian Ocean region into the South China Sea and Indonesian archipelago, it also cuts through the heart of Southeast Asia. Both the Malacca and the Singapore Straits contain major international shipping transit lanes through which external and local shipping companies transport bulk raw natural products to manufacturers, and manufactured goods to places of consumption. Between 25 and 30 percent of world trade and 50 percent of global energy cargoes transit the Malacca and Singapore Straits each year.[47] Up to 200 vessels above 300 gross tonnes transit in any 24-hour period. Approximately 400 shipping companies and 700 ports worldwide rely on trade transiting or making port within the region. In an industry where goods are expected to be delivered ‘just-in-time’ for manufacturers and markets, the Malacca and Singapore Straits have allowed ships significant reductions in the time spent en route, reducing daily operating costs. It is 994 nautical miles and several days travelling time, less than alternative shipping transit routes south of Sumatra, through the more southerly Sunda or Lombok Straits; consequently the shorter passage mitigates any risk of piracy at sea.

Illustrating the sheer volume of shipping traffic through Southeast Asia, 2007 figures from Malaysia’s Marine Department (MMD) help also to shed light on the significance of maritime trade for regional economies. The MMD gives regular statistics of ships over 300 gross tonnes[48] in transit as part of the IMO Mandatory Ship Reporting System (STRAITREP).[49] The sum total of vessels transiting through the Malacca and Singapore Straits indicate a trend of steadily increasing maritime traffic; 43,964 in 1999; 55,955 in 2000; 59,314 in 2001; 62,393 in 2002; 62,334 in 2003 and 63,636 in 2004. During 2005, 62,621 ships reported transiting the straits.[50]

Since the international shipping route through the Malacca and Singapore Straits allows the shortest, and therefore most economical shipping routes, the high volume of shipping traffic enticed local gangs to take up piracy at sea. Southeast Asian pirates and Caribbean drugs smugglers, not unlike criminals everywhere, rely on the lack of ubiquitous law enforcement in the vastness of their respective regional seas; both use the geography to their advantage. International shipping lanes pass adjacent to the Malaysian coastline and the coastal mud flats of the Indonesian island of Sumatra - the ships are clearly visible and easily accessible using relatively small craft from shore. Many islands provide cover for hit and run pirate attacks, dotting the waters from Karin Kecil Island at the southern ‘dogleg’, where much of the Malacca Straits shipping swings left to enter the Singapore Straits, out to the Anambas Islands in the southern South China Sea, where pirate attacks were continuing to occur throughout 2004-09. Located at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca, the Singapore Straits is a smaller passage of water that lies between the island state of Singapore and the western reaches of the Indonesian archipelago.[51] The Riau Archipelago and much of the northeastern coast of Sumatra consist of numerous islands, inlets, shallow bays and mud flats.[52] This littoral environment provides cover and sanctuary, the passing parade of commercial vessels provide motive for piracy at sea and armed robbery. Consequently, maritime security in the straits region has been of significant interest to both the states that border the straits, and to those external states that depend on the shipping for their own economic security.

Unlike the Caribbean, which contains many small and medium states, Southeast Asia consists of 10 principal states. Only three states, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, have direct responsibility for law enforcement within the international shipping transit lanes the Malacca and Singapore Straits, while three others, Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines, have an interest in regional maritime security. Singapore claims only a three nautical mile territorial sea, rather than the 12 nautical miles of the other states, but benefits from providing port facilities for commercial shipping that uses this sea-route.[53] Singapore’s port complex alone handled 1.3 billion tons of shipping in 2006, making it one of the busiest in the world. Singapore is therefore a regional actor with considerable interest in regional maritime security.[54] Port security is the province of municipal police, whereas law enforcement at sea is the responsibility of all states that are signatory to UNCLOS.

The victims of piracy at sea include the crews of commercial and non-commercial vessels. A first-hand account and subsequent personal investigation into armed attacks against ships and their crews by John S. Burnett, certainly highlights the terror of violence on crews during piracy at sea.[55] This contrasts with the past, when the main physical threat to sailors was bar-fights, accidents onboard ship, or the sinking of vessels. In Southeast Asia and Somalia, pirate attacks saw vessels seized for plunder or ransom, and crews become unwilling, incidental victims of sea crimes.[56] Consequently, a survey by Captain Noor Apandi Osnin and Captain Choy Ngee Sheng noted that crews were more focussed piracy prevention measures when at sea.[57]

A regular incidence of maritime piracy at sea and armed robbery against ships at sea had multiplied worldwide prior to the end of the Cold War, and continued to increase afterwards. Between 1984 and November 1999, 1,587 pirate attacks were reported worldwide with vessels within Southeast Asia and the South China Sea increasingly being targeted. Incidents of piracy at sea increased after the 1997 economic crisis in Southeast Asia. In a 1999 report published by the United States Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) placed some of the blame for piracy at sea within Southeast Asia on a lack of government attention. Southeast Asia’s typical targets of piracy at sea were merchant ships and fishing boats. Pirate attacks were attributable to organised and common crime, as well as a poor government attitude toward security.[58] Indonesia was hardest hit by the Asian economic downturn and internal political struggles from 1998 and it was within this state that piracy at sea found a homeport. Pirate attacks in international waters worldwide in 2001 were most prolific in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. By 2002, attacks within the Malacca and Singapore Straits became endemic to the region. Various causes for pirate attacks included links to organised crime, angry fishermen, Aceh insurgents and other militants. Socio-economic sources included poverty, inequality and regional instability.[59]

Economics and Security at Sea
Income disparity between comparatively wealthy Malaysians and Indonesians, together with reported links between pirates and organised crime on the Indonesian side of the straits resulted in a steady increase of pirate attacks on ships, peaking in 2003/04. Although many coastal villagers relied on fishing as a primary source of income, opportunity and necessity made piracy at sea attractive, despite its risks. During a visit to Kampusg Tanjusg in Indonesia’s Riau Province, six kilometres south of Singapore, Eric Frecon observed taxi-boat drivers idling the day away; they were reluctant to talk about their night-trade as pirates. Local pirate families and gangs ruled the area, according to Frecon, teaching new recruits how to plunder local shipping. Local police would turn a blind eye, preferring to wear sarongs and visit prostitutes on nearby Pulua Babi [Pig Island].[60] Piracy at sea connects to fishing in several ways; fishing vessels used to fish illegally are vulnerable to attack from pirates. Additionally, fishers using knowledge of the sea carry out acts of piracy at sea. If pirates hijack a fishing vessel as a platform from which to launch further pirate attacks, authorities may not be aware of the theft and illegal use for some days or weeks, if at all, because owners do not want to contact authorities and alert them to their initial illegal fishing activities.[61]

5.4 The Beginnings of Security Cooperation at Sea

External Influences

In the Caribbean, narcotics smuggling had increased crime ashore, thereby putting pressure on states to engage in bilateral maritime law enforcement cooperation with the United States. Commercial actors external to Southeast Asia, on the other hand, had a stake in the risk to commercial shipping, so were able to shape perceptions and events in the region, and influence the behaviour of Southeast Asian states toward eventual security cooperation. Piracy at sea in the Malacca and Singapore Straits before 2005 had increased the risk to external actors (user states) who utilised the Southeast Asian straits for commercial shipping or naval strategic access. Consequently, a major marine insurance advisory body, Lloyd’s Market Association Joint War Committee, sought to raise the security threat level through its regular advisories. Unlike the initiatives taken by the United States and Caribbean states, that sought to shift the consequences and risks of narcotics smuggling onto the traffickers, risk assessments made in faraway London by Lloyd’s Market Association Joint War Committee led shipping insurance companies to place the burden of risk onto ship owners. Continuing to make passage through the Malacca and Singapore Straits, ship owners faced increased costs. External actors sought to protect the interests of commercial shipping that passed through Southeast Asia by issuing warnings but inevitably, it gave shipping underwriters a reason to raise premiums.

Lloyd’s of London did not advocate force, such as the arming of commercial ships, due to the complexities of getting flag-state approval and other legalities but it did issue industry security alerts. With a long history of involvement in global shipping, London-based Lloyd’s Market Association has had considerable influence with maritime insurers through the advice it has provided its customers. When Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) has deemed a region to present a high risk for shipping, insurers have had cause to add surcharges on vessels operating within the area. Announcement of the new risk category for the Malacca and Singapore Straits by the Joint War Committee occurred on 20 June 2005, following advice from a European based security-consulting firm, Aegis. On this advice, Lloyd’s declared that the Malacca and Singapore Straits had become one of several areas at ‘enhanced risk’ of ‘war, strikes, terrorism and related perils’.[62] It was a situation reminiscent of a similar assessment following a terrorist attack on the French tanker, MV Limburg at a port in Yemen in 2002; that had led to a tripling of insurance premiums on tanker vessels bound for Yemen. To retain insurance coverage, general-cargo ship owners had been required to pay a war-risk surcharge, at an average cost of US$150,000 for each vessel entering Yemen’s ports. This had translated into US$450,000 per voyage, up from US$150,000 for super tankers carrying typically two million barrels of oil. Consequently, the risk assessment had indirectly added about 15 cents per barrel to the delivered cost of the oil, leading to Thai, Taiwanese, Korean, and Singaporean ships thereafter avoiding Yemen territorial waters.[63]

An indirect consequence for states was that this action had the potential to make shipping firms consider avoiding the region where possible. In the case of Lloyd’s risk assessment, the average cost to shipping companies whose ships used the Malacca and Singapore Straits was an estimated increase of approximately 4,000 Euros per vessel per passage. John Burnett has estimated that normal daily operating costs of cargo vessels in 2001/02 was US$20,000 to US$80,000, so any increase was unwelcome.[64] Lloyd’s risk assessment consequently put pressure on shipping companies to divert to the longer route south of Sumatra and through the Sunda Strait, adding three days and increasing operating costs. Diversions by ships also had potential to affect the economic viability of ports within the Malacca and Singapore Straits who relied on servicing the shipping trade.

Whereas Caribbean discussions on the problem of narcotics smuggling in the early 1990s was largely initiated by the United States, as it sought to counter-narcotics trafficking and domestic illicit drug use, in the case of Southeast Asia it was the states that began formal dialogue on the question of regional maritime security, as a response to external risk perceptions. Lloyd’s risk assessment inferred that some states were not fulfilling their responsibility of providing security for maritime users within the international straits that pass within their territorial seas. These perceptions about the paucity of security in maritime Southeast Asia prompted government-level discussions about security within the straits. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Yab Dato Sri Najib Razak; warned that it was crucial that all actors accepted that states would have to be the drivers of security within the region, so that primary responsibility for implementing the way mechanisms that targeted a strengthening of the security in the Malacca and Singapore straits.[65] In August 2005, foreign ministers from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia met to discuss the question of maritime safety and security in the Malacca and Singapore Straits. Representatives of the states agreed that Lloyd’s risk assessment did not take into account the impact of Malacca Straits Sea Patrols (MSSPs). Reports only indicated two cases of piracy at sea in the Malacca and Singapore Straits in the third quarter of 2005, compared with eight between January and June.

By the end of 2005, Singaporean shipping companies and neighbouring states were questioning Lloyd’s risk assessment.[66] Coming from an influential international organisation, commentators deemed the assessment bad for business.[67] Razak pointed out the improving anti-piracy at sea situation, indicated by the basic statistics; one case of piracy at sea in the second half of 2005 compared to 18 in same period 2004, and 12 cases in the Malacca and Singapore Straits in 2005 compared to 38 in 2004. Razak argued that this was a vindication of security criticisms of the past, calling for need of a revision of Lloyd’s risk assessment.[68]

Nevertheless, regional commanders and foreign insurers did not always follow the downward trend in their analysis. In 2004, Former Republic of the Philippines Assistant Secretary of Defense, Alejandro P. Melchor stated that piracy at sea, maritime terrorism, transnational criminal trafficking operations, refugees and illegal migration, as well as protecting energy routes comprised the primary maritime security challenges for Southeast Asia.[69] Additionally, private estimates of about the risks of piracy at sea in the Malacca and Singapore Straits, including Lloyd’s risk assessment and other assessments, meant that the security situation was at times unclear. In the Caribbean, the question of whether maritime law enforcement was meeting success or otherwise was able to be made from the frequency of successful drug interdictions at sea, the USCG regularly publishing its own compiled figures.[70] A shipping industry assessment in July 2000 suggested that security was improving in the straits.[71] Despite a reduction in the frequency of pirate attacks in the first half of 2006, and calls to drop the Malacca and Singapore Straits region from its list of enhanced-risk areas, Lloyd’s was nevertheless reluctant to immediately down-grade its risk assessment.

Regardless of improved security coordination of states through the MSSPs after 2004 and the pending launch of a Malaysian coast guard, a perception persisted that the states of Southeast Asia were not doing enough to improve maritime security.[72] Rear Admiral Danyal Belagopal Abdullah of the Malaysian Navy disputed Lloyd’s action, as it linked terrorism to piracy at sea and prioritized external interests. In Abdullah’s opinion, there were cases of robbery in the straits but it was an issue separate from terrorism. He stated that the Malacca Straits was ‘one of the most peaceful routes in the world and any talks of terrorist threats here reflect the vested interests of selected parties ... [w]e have yet to see any proof to the allegations that the [s]traits is a risky place’.[73] Because they believe they have a stake in its security, other near neighbours also viewed the straits a significant maritime region. Maritime Southeast Asia extends to the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, therefore this region is of interest to other Asian states on its periphery. These include India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and China, Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea. The Malacca and Singapore Straits have provided access for commercial and military vessels and therefore the security of the straits benefits a wide range of regional and extra-regional trading and strategic interests. Although the December 2004 tsunami revealed a degree of reluctance by Indonesia to allow external states to operate naval forces within territorial waters, even in an emergency, it did highlight that international assistance can be benign. Tsunami aid operations supported the overall security of Indonesia in a time of need. However, with less attacks reported after 2004, Indonesia and Malaysia required reassurance that external states who had offered help during the emergency, were still acting in the interests of the states once the crisis had diminished. Hugo Grotius referred to Plutarch’s warning, after all, that the civilizing of barbarians may in fact be a pretext for aggression.[74]

That neither Indonesia nor Malaysia immediately sought to participate in later multi-state arrangements such as ReCAAP suggested that they remained wary of extending security cooperation to include external states whose interest in ReCAAP was due to the pursuit of their own agendas.[75] While maritime security cooperation between Southeast Asian states has at times been patchy, this has been at least partly due to a realist view that external actors will always prioritise their own interests. Aside from the ongoing disputes over resources within the South China Sea between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, a reason for East Asian actors seeking to influence maritime security within the Malacca and Singapore Straits has been concern for unfettered supply lines of raw materials such as energy products from the Middle East. This is similar to the way that Caribbean states have seen the United States prioritise its own strategic interests in the region and determine foreign policy according to its own needs. External actors that have had a significant interest, and sought to influence security within the Malacca and Singapore Straits for economic reasons have included Northeast Asian Industrial states, Japan and China.

In the case of Japan, supply lines have been crucial for economic survival of the state due to it possessing few domestic natural resources, and a resource-hungry, industrial manufacturing oriented economy. John M. Collins argues that historically, since early in the twentieth century, Japan has demonstrated to the point of aggression that it cannot allow threats to its raw materials imports.[76] Consequently, Japan has sought to increase indirectly the capacity of weaker states, such as Indonesia, in order to protect its own product vessels from pirates. For Japan, a watershed incident occurred in October 1999 when pirates boarded the Japanese cargo ship, Alondra Rainbow; the vessel went missing for a short time. The incident prompted the government of Japan to take measures to prevent pirate attacks at sea.[77] On average, an estimated 80 to 90 percent of Japan’s crude oil imports (50 percent of its total energy imports) have regularly passed through the Malacca and Singapore Straits onboard ships.[78] By nationality of ship owners, Japanese ships regularly used the straits, accounting for twenty percent of all vessels, more than any other state. Japan’s vulnerability had been that raw material imports predominantly transported by sea over long supply lines regularly transited the Malacca and Singapore Straits. At the 2007, ASEAN Summit, Japan’s Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo referred to arrangements between ASEAN and Japan that sought to expand counter-terrorism and maritime security. The archipelagos, straits and sea-lanes pose a potential security hazard to Japan’s national interests.[79] As mentioned previously, Japan donated three patrol boats to Indonesia in order to help fight terrorism and piracy at sea. This was a significant move, seen as breaking Japan’s long-standing ban against exporting weapons.[80]

Significantly, ships carry at least 75 percent of oil imported by Northeast Asian states via the Malacca and Singapore Straits’ route. Therefore, a threat to this supply of energy, either real or perceived, draws the attention of industrial, resource-dependant states such as China, Japan and South Korea.[81] Jean-Paul Rodrigue describes the Malacca and Singapore Straits as a strategically ‘invisible’ commodity.[82] China, for instance, has planned significant, yearly increases to its energy needs in the long term.[83] Consequently, China’s President Hu Jiantao has referred to the security problems in the Malacca and Singapore Straits as the ‘Malacca-dilemma’, whereby the cost of inaction on security is of necessity weighed against China’s growing energy security needs.[84] China’s former paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping referred to basic guiding-principles for China’s foreign relations; to ‘[o]bserve calmly, secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership’.[85] However, a report to the United States Congress positions China as expanding its presence through the Straits of Malacca and into the Indian Ocean, through military expansion. Evidence that China was interested in the regional security, is that in 2005 its naval vessels visited Pakistan. It was significant as the first combined naval manoeuvres with a state where the Straits of Malacca played an access role for China’s naval forces.[86] China later participated in efforts to counter piracy off the Horn of Africa.

India is also an interested stakeholder in the maritime security of Southeast Asia, although its interests are less clear. An Indonesia-India bilateral defence agreement, ‘Bilateral Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defence, was signed 11 January 2001 and with operations commencing in 2002, it sought to facilitate coordinated patrols and confidence building in the Andaman Sea. India promoted the agreement as a response to Tamil Tiger rebels from Sri Lanka expanding operations to the Andaman Islands and on to Indonesia. Indonesia’s Rear Marshal Sagom Tamboen believed in a wider purpose for the joint patrols, claiming it suited the interests of both countries by dealing with pirate attacks, smuggling, territorial transgression and inter-state crime in the Andaman Sea. Significantly, the bilateral India-Indonesia defence agreement allowed several years of bi-annual interaction, exercises and information exchanges, and ship visits. Eventually in 2006, ratification of the agreement by Indonesia formalised the agreement so that it became a regular exchange of bilateral military activities.[87]

Regional Interdependency

A fundamental regional interdependence between states in Southeast Asia bears similarities to the Caribbean. Caribbean states have used the forums provided by The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). CARICOM bears similarities of consensus and non-interference that are at the core of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) principles. Within Southeast Asia, security issues either retard or support security cooperation but regional forums, such as ASEAN and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) can still facilitate dialogue between states and external actors. With the creation of ASEAN on 8 August 1967, a multilateral group of states regularly met to discuss regional issues. As in the Caribbean, disparate groups of developing states located on disconnected landmasses and islands comprise the bulk of Southeast Asia.[88] As with CARICOM and ACS forums, ASEAN’s style of resolution through regular meetings built consensus between the states on economic and safety matters, and allowed dialogue on security issues. ASEAN began with 10 dialogue partner states whose territories comprised a regional area of some four point five million square kilometres, 14 official languages and seven religions. The ASEAN Bangkok declarations in 1967 sought to respect national sovereignty and renounced use of force, and were sentiments that incorporated, at least in spirit, a community approach to regional issues. Holding an inaugural meeting in 1994, membership of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), led to widened membership from the ten core ASEAN member states. New ARF members include Asia-Pacific states Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States and Vietnam. Managing conflict through dialogue, confidence building and preventative diplomacy have been at the core of the ARF whose forum has a managerial mission to prevent regional conflict and resolution of intra-regional differences.[89] In this way, the ARF facilitated discussion beyond a purely economic forum but within a framework with a regional focus.

The ARF proposed conflict resolution as a means to institutionalise Southeast Asia’s premise of non-interference in the political affairs of member states. Disputed ownership of mineral rights, illegal immigration, trans-border smoke haze issues and smuggling have been ongoing issues that have strained security cooperation between certain ASEAN states. Disputes that centred on the South China Sea, strained relations between states of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam and external states China and Taiwan; each has overlapping or conflicting territorial claims.[90] The security aims of the ASEAN Regional Forum are to balance national agendas, sovereignty concerns and border issues with a need for an outward projection of regional harmony and cooperation as promoted in the ASEAN Vision 2020 security statement. This statement proposed that by the year 2020, conflict within the region, such as disputes between Malaysia and Singapore over Batu Putih and Middle Rocks area,[91] or between Indonesia and Malaysia over Celebes Sea incursions, might be eliminated, through respect for justice and the rule of law, and ‘regional resilience’.[92]

Regional interdependency has required more than diplomacy and trade dependency. Regional security inter-dependency supports state independence but cooperation has been a fragile and tentative endeavour, with regional altercations often testing relations between states. Connected to a common security environment, Southeast Asian states share borders, proximity of territorial seas to international trade routes and inter-regional maritime trade dependency. Vice Admiral Mayuga, a Flag Officer[93] of the Philippine Navy stated his belief that since the creation of the states of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, naval forces of the three countries constantly guarantee travel and trade in border regions.[94] This is important because maritime choke points such as the Malacca and Singapore Straits are natural resources with finite or ‘absolute’ capacities, vulnerable to disputes and requiring active diplomatic and legal protection.[95] Consequently, disputes within the region over overlapping resource claims, have occasionally progressed beyond diplomacy. In 2005, Malaysia was in dispute with Indonesia over ownership of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands, oil mining rights off the east coast of Sabah (Malaysia) and Kalimantan (Indonesia) in the Ambalat region. In early 2007, accusations flew that Malaysia allowed border incursions into Indonesia’s territorial sea. Singapore and Malaysia disputed ownership of Palua Batu Puteh/Pedra Branca Island in the Singapore Straits. Other disputes included a Malaysia - Indonesia dispute over the Sipada-Litigan Islands in the Sulawesi Sea (Sabah-Kalimantan border), the Thai and Malaysia common-border dispute, and the Malaysia and Brunei dispute regarding Limbang.[96] On each occasion, the states involved deployed, or threatened to deploy naval forces to reinforce diplomatic overtures, testing resolution mechanisms.

These events suggest parallels to states along the Straits of Malacca in the past. Facing similar maritime security problems of sovereignty, territory, resources and piracy, nineteenth-century Netherlands (Holland) and England had to protect their colonial islands within what is now Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. Shipping remains the most cost-effective means of bulk transport, so that a small to medium sized state such as Singapore or Panama, that possess few substantial natural resources but are strategically located, must rely on passing ocean trade. Panama has the Panama Canal; Singapore has the Malacca and Singapore straits. Singapore Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean has underlined the strategic importance to Singapore of the transport by sea of oil, food, resources and finished goods.[97] Because Singapore has been able to capitalising on its strategic position by transhipping goods from ships to other smaller vessels or land transport methods, and also making refining of oil products a significant part of its economy, this small island state has needed to develop a competent navy and water police. Greater maritime involvement for states has required that they have an adequate capacity to enforce law in their respective maritime zones. For Singapore, not unlike the situation for Panama, maritime criminal activities led to the state becoming a vocal supporter of regional maritime security measures that protected national maritime interests. For states, whose national interests depended less on maritime trade, and who possessed considerable natural resources, such as Indonesia, maritime security was a lower security priority.

Naval Security Cooperation Regular naval exercises within Southeast Asia have sometimes included maritime law enforcement but more significantly, they benefit improved maritime security cooperation and confidence building between Southeast Asian states through military-to-military coordination. Significantly, the United States has often been a participant in these exercises at a navy-to-navy level. During the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, naval defence exercises held at sea between regional and external naval forces only occasionally included maritime law enforcement. Operations Stardex and Flying Fish, Cooperation against Terrorism (SEACAT) and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) involved regional naval forces and other marine authorities in bilateral or trilateral training exercises with the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). In addition, Malaysian coastguard (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, MMEA) members were given instruction by the USCG on boarding techniques during CARAT exercises.[98] This consisted of regional participants conducting naval exercises off Singapore in the South China Sea; the naval forces of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attended. Such exercises included information sharing, multinational coordination and maritime interdiction. Joint regional exercises, such as those between the US and the Philippines Military forces BALIKATAN, included maritime law enforcement components so that participating and observing regional states could see how other agencies operate in a maritime crisis.[99]

Joint naval exercises that included Southeast Asian states and the United States, did initiate a degree of security coordination with an established maritime law enforcement authority when the USCG was also present.[100] Unlike its role within the Caribbean, USCG involvement with Southeast Asia has been a confidence building measure, instilling the concept of operational law enforcement, and maritime safety as separate to a purely strategic function of deterrence that naval forces imply. As maritime law enforcement within Southeast Asia had been associated with military operations, naval exercises that did include the USCG allowed states to observe the organisation’s long established maritime law enforcement techniques. Regional exercises included the Indonesian-United States Navy, Naval Engagement Activities 2007 (NEA) set to be held every two years, comprising sea-law, law of armed conflicts, joint operations at sea, piracy at sea, engagement rules and interdiction of vessels at sea.[101] Naval involvement in law enforcement in Southeast Asia has been beneficial because few states in the region have had the capacity to stand up, operate and pay for both naval and coast guard forces. Consequently, and perhaps ironically, naval forces in Southeast Asia have generally functioned more like the USCG than the United States Navy, leaving the question of why maritime law enforcement has been so problematic.[102] Naval forces have historically been slow to appreciate that anti-piracy-at-sea campaigns were similar to counter-insurgency operations, and this may account for a poorly defined role for regional marine authorities.

Low-End Cooperation and Information Sharing

Piracy at sea reporting became a public means to increase information awareness between various actors within Southeast Asia and externally. It also supported states through building confidence and by illustrating the usefulness of improved situational awareness. Piracy at sea reporting developed at regional or sub-regional levels, for both commercial and government customers. Although there have not been comparable facilities to report on narcotics smuggling within the Caribbean, Southeast Asian-based piracy at sea reporting has extended to both regions.

Whereas information collation and reporting organisations such as the IMO and ReCAAP have functioned at the government-level, the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre’s industry focus supports the interests of maritime shipping. Created in October 1992 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre has operated as a not-for-profit, industry-based information collation and dissemination section of the European-based, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Financed mainly through voluntary contributions from the shipping and insurance industry, and overseen by the ICC in London, the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre promotes itself as ‘a focal point in the fight against all types of maritime crime and malpractice’.[103] Adorned with charts and maps of Southeast Asia and other maritime regions, the office in Kuala Lumpur displays plaques from military vessels and commercial companies that have presumably benefited from the centre’s regular reports and warnings. Both the IMO and IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre have tended to define piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea in accordance with IMO definitions, varying only in the timeliness of reporting, and scope. The Centre includes daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly reports of global piracy at sea, making it a useful source of data for determining the effectiveness of current maritime law enforcement measures.[104]
The IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre acts as a manager of information on attempted and successful acts of piracy against vessels at sea, whether at anchor or underway so that its reports influence the way that governments and industry judge the level of threat, and the required response. On occasions, as mentioned previously, the holistic approach taken by the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre to reporting maritime crime incidents has led to accusations that the centre over-reports the prevalence of piracy at sea, which under UNCLOS and IMO definitions, occurs only on the high sea.[105] Incidents collated from first-hand reports from ships, disseminate from the centre via satellite and the internet for access by virtually anyone, free of charge but it also means that the audience is global.[106] Piracy reports detail weapons used, crew injured or killed, and the outcome of each incident in almost all regions of the world. The IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre information sees the commercial shipping masters and owners as primary customers; the service helping to minimise risk to crews, vessels, owners and insurers, although academia and media outlets also rely on the data. IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan argues that before creation of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, governments globally had not appreciated the nature or magnitude of the problem of piracy at sea, eventually realising this needs to be actioned. Mukundan sees an increasing willingness of regional governments to take action when more ships are willing to report attacks and the states had access to statistics with improved accuracy.[107]

Information sharing in Southeast Asian states involved development of collaborative mechanisms to increase regional, situational awareness derived through regional means and on regional terms. Whereas in the Caribbean, the United States initiated individual bilateral arrangements with Caribbean states, within Southeast Asia, states turned to regional forums, in particular, ASEAN. The message of cooperation without interference ensconced within its preamble incorporates ‘Asian values’. The preamble declares that member states agree to respect territorial sovereignty, seek equality, maintain territorial integrity, and refrain from interference in the political affairs or functions of neighbouring states. It is an agreement that states will keep relations at a level that allows dialogue and trade but minimises antagonistic behaviour between states. Within this understanding, information collection and dissemination functions facilitates interaction without threatening territorial sovereignty; it also aligns with the more general ASEAN principles that states do not interfere in the affairs of neighbouring states.[108]

Information Sharing: ReCAAP

The origin and scope of ReCAAP differed to that of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, because as a government-run and funded reporting organisation, information is controlled; this is more in keeping with regional non-interference requirements. Funded by regional governments and given international legitimacy through the IMO, ReCAAP’s reporting area is East and Southeast Asia. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre publishes details of attacks globally whereas ReCAAP does not. Its creation attributed to several actors, including Japan’s former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s government, ReCAAP has not included reports from Japan’s East Asian region. ReCAAP is an outcome of earlier discussions on regional security, held within a cooperation and discussion forum called, Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP), yet the Pacific is not included in ReCAAP reporting either.[109] As a non-government, regional Asia-Pacific forum allowing informal debate and analysis of security needs of regional states, creation of CSCAP occurred between November 1992 and December 1993. The forum assisted development of policy through the ASEAN Regional Forum, facilitating discussion between Southeast Asian states on the way forward in the area of regional security. Whilst consisting of five working groups, the Maritime Cooperation Working Group dealt with maritime security issues and facilitated discussion on maritime crime issues.[110]

Further international support occurred later in the decade with the assistance of the IMO. Whilst the IMO regularly published Maritime Safety Committee Circulars (MSC/C) that offered global guidance and recommendations to governments and ship owners, in June 1999 and 2002 reference was made through an MSC/C to possible responses that might be taken by the maritime industry to the increasing incidence of pirate attacks against vessels within Southeast Asia.[111] These IMO circulars offered guidance to maritime users, including commercial shipping, on practical anti-piracy at sea measures. They also outlined procedures for detaining and arresting vessels within and beyond the territorial sea, and the rights and obligations of all parties involved. Supplementing UNCLOS, these MSC/C recommendations highlighted the importance of communications, of being prepared for transit through threat areas and coordination of maritime patrols on the sea and in the air.

Significantly, the circulars also contained in draft form, what would become the 2005 ReCAAP proposal. It proposed that comprehensive agreement make provision for fully respecting the national sovereignty of all participating countries while providing an opportunity for regional cooperation; it also included provisions for maritime law enforcement in, and over international and national waters.[112] Unlike CSCAP’s focus on general regional security issues, the proposed agreement outlined in the MSC/C sought to provide information collection and dissemination to maritime users, to respond specifically to pirate attacks against shipping. It would later become a multilateral initiative supported by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre and strongly supported by Japan. Consequently, the development phase of the ReCAAP Agreement concluded in Tokyo in November 2004, and opened for signatures from interested states on the 28 February 2005. Endorsement by 10 states was required before the agreement could come into force. Singapore actively encouraged states to sign and ratify the ReCAAP Agreement. Singapore declared that it would host an Information Sharing Centre (ISC), and it would be physically located in Singapore.[113] Twelve countries did initially sign the agreement, including most ASEAN members including Cambodia, Japan, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka. On the other hand, both Malaysia and Indonesia were reluctant to sign or ratify ReCAAP, stating that the agreement’s anti-piracy at sea focus was not a priority security concern of either state.[114]

Nevertheless, ReCAAP entered into force on 4 September 2006, and in November, the ReCAAP - Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP-ISC) officially began operations. This complimented the patrolling within the Straits of Malacca that began in 2004. Thereafter, signatory states were encouraged to channel reporting of piracy at sea attacks through the ReCAAP-ISC. Member states included Japan, China, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam. Although piracy at sea against ships is a transnational problem, this was the first time an international body had been set up to focus solely on the problem of piracy at sea within a specific region. The membership-based IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre has also provided law enforcement agencies with regular bulletins of piracy at sea attacks and supported establishment of the ReCAAP-ISC.[115] With a global reporting scope, rather than ReCAAP’s regional focus, and with private industry its first responsibility rather than any government, the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre has operated with some advantages. It has not sought to antagonise its host state, Malaysia but neither has that government overly restrained it.[116]

In other ways, the two organisations have also sought similar objectives. By collecting and redistributing reports of threats from ships at sea within Southeast Asia and offering analysis that might avert future attacks, the ReCAAP-ISC has tended to compliment the wider scope of the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre.[117] Creation of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre sought to reduce the risk to the shipping industry of criminal activity and violence at sea; a poorly managed facet of Southeast Asian security. Due to either lacked the capacity or political interest or both, reporting of incidents had been one way that industry sought to improve security awareness within the Malacca and Singapore Straits. The ReCAAP-ISC was a belated multilateral response by Southeast Asian governments mirroring the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre that sought to improve maritime awareness through government involvement whilst reducing the perception of risk that piracy at sea presented through accurate reporting. Nevertheless, ReCAAP did provide a structure upon which to build future maritime awareness mechanisms. Although the initial purpose of ReCAAP-ISC had been to improve situational awareness of pirate attacks and armed robbery in Southeast Asia’s principal shipping sea-routes, its adaptability to other areas led to IMO initiatives elsewhere. For instance, in January 2007 the IMO announced it would make the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden more secure from terrorists and pirates with a regional maritime information system. Head of policy and planning at IMO, Joe Espinoza, proposed that the IMO was trying to do the same thing as ReCAAP, to ‘use the states and the [shipping] industry for more effective policing’. Consequently, the IMO invited Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen to be party to a middle-eastern regional agreement similar to ReCAAP.[118]

Despite Indonesian and Malaysian reluctance to participate in ReCAAP, there were indications after 2006 that both participating and non-participating Southeast Asian states had accepted that regular patrolling and situational awareness within Southeast Asia had improved. Indonesian Admiral Slamet Soebijanto admitted that maritime criminal activities in Southeast Asia had decreased since July 2004 and Indonesian Major General Bambang Darmono was of the opinion that ReCAAP-ISC would respond to a wide-range of transnational criminal activities, including human and drug trafficking and terrorism. According to local media, Soebijanto had agreed with Darmono that joint security arrangements had been successful, and was of the opinion that this had been recognised by other states whose ships used the Malacca and Singapore Straits, including the United States and Japan. However, both Soebijanto and Darmono maintained that improved security meant that there was no need for the military presence of external naval forces in the straits.[119] By February 2007, support for ReCAAP was apparent, indicated by the number of participating regional and external states. States participating in ReCAAP included Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Offered invitations to membership of ReCAAP, Malaysia and Indonesia were included in preliminary meetings although both states chose not to actively participate at that time.

Disputes over the extent of sea territories by several Southeast Asian states still hampered closer cooperation in the region after 2006. Therefore, the benefit of increasing coordination and information sharing through ReCAAP was that it built confidence that helped to reduce residual antagonisms. In a naval review in early 2009, Admiral Dato’ Sri Abdul Aziz bin Hj Jaafar, Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy, stated his opinion that the issue of overlapping claims within Southeast Asia was still a concern but that the states of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore had worked together to successfully reduce the threat of piracy at sea. Such cooperation and understanding created trust and confidence between the parties.[120] In the same naval review, Admiral Khamthorn Pumhiran, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, agreed that the cooperation had been important for the development of interaction with other states. He referred to joint maritime patrols with Malaysia, India and Vietnam and aerial surveillance with the states in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.[121] Increasing confidence in security cooperation also opened the way to include other Southeast Asian states such as Thailand and India in the coordinated Malacca Straits Sea Patrols (MSSPs).

5.5 Changing Regional Attitudes


How reporting of piracy at sea occurred significantly affected the weight that Southeast Asian actors placed on the need for reinforcing regional maritime authority. An assumption that the reported level of threat did not warrant security cooperation with neighbouring states was arrived at due to inconsistent and confusing reporting of pirate attacks in Southeast Asia. Partly, reports of piracy at sea differentiated these from armed robbery at sea, attributing attacks to various causes rather than indicators of overall deficiencies in regional maritime law enforcement capacities. Stefan Eklöf argues that statistics of pirate attacks in Southeast Asia have sometimes included acts of robbery within the territorial waters of a state. Therefore, and depending on municipal laws of the state in question, since acts of robbery are not referred to as piracy at sea if the incident occurs within the territorial sea, it is a problem for individual states (according to UNCLOS and IMO definitions) to decide. Arguments about the region being prone to piracy at sea depend on the terminology used, and the way that the statistics have been categorised. Eklöf notes that many cases reported during 2004 by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre that monitors shipping positions daily through broadcasts on the Inmarsat-C SafetyNET service, were actually thefts in port. Of the 167 reports of piracy at sea in 2004, only 92 occurred at sea.[122] Other reasons for variation in piracy at sea totals include natural disaster, and changes to government awareness of piracy at sea as a criminal activity having some political significance.

After 2004, incidents of piracy at sea declined. This was attributable in part to the after affects and sheer devastation of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and to changes to the patrolling arrangements by various states. Following the tsunami, external naval forces could converge on Indonesian littorals that had previously been off-limits; a move that likely helped deterred pirate attacks.[123] Increased reporting and greater awareness of attacks also led to the active involvement of regional governments in the issue of criminal maritime activities.[124] A typical incident that demonstrates an improving level of cooperation involved the hijacking on 22 September 2007 of the Tanker Kraton, approximately 40 nautical miles Southeast of Bintan Island. Based on the ship’s tracking system, the ship’s owner believed that the thieves were sailing the vessel to either Singapore or Malaysia. Reported to the authorities of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, on 24 September, the Indonesian Navy managed to overpower the individuals involved without causing any casualties. This was an incident occurring inside Indonesian territorial waters and correctly reported and acted upon by Indonesian authorities who bore responsibility for security in that maritime region.

The tally of attacks indicated signs that improved cooperation between states was slowly leading to a reduction of piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea in the period after 2004. In the first nine months of 2005, the number of pirate attacks numbered 205, an overall increase on the previous year. However, by 31 October 2006 the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre noted that overall numbers of pirate attacks worldwide, most occurring in Southeast Asia, were in decline. The first nine months of 2006 had seen 174 pirate attacks; an overall decrease of 31 acts of piracy at sea. A breakdown of the 174 attacks in 2006 included 113 illegal boardings of vessels, 11 ships hijacked, 163 hostages taken, 20 crewmembers kidnapped and six killed.[125] A corresponding decrease in worldwide pirate attacks over a three-year period, 2004, 2005, 2006 was the first clear decline in incidents since the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre began analysis in 1991.[126] As most pirate attacks had occurred within Southeast Asia at this time, less attacks within this region alone significantly reduced the global tally. The period 2003 to 2007 saw a decline in the total number of reported incidents of piracy at sea in this region; from 210 in 2003, down to 135 in 2006, and 100 in 2007, according to ReCAAP data.[127] Comparison with other regions reveals that the Gulf of Guinea (West Africa) experienced double the number of attacks and the Gulf of Aden/Somali coast (East Africa) had slightly reduced over the same period. In the first nine months of 2005, reported pirate attacks on shipping globally dropped 18 percent (compared to the same period in 2004) to 205; Southeast Asia accounted for one third of the total. Attacks world-wide included, 15 ships that came under weapons fire, 149 reported being boarded by pirates, 259 seafarers being taken hostage, 19 crew were assaulted, while 12 crew were reported missing.[128]

In many attacks, the degree of violence gave the attacks a higher public and international profile, especially when pirates directed violence at crews of ships, who were of many nationalities outside Southeast Asia. This drew the attention and criticism of governments external to Southeast Asia. Although both piracy at sea in Southeast Asia and narcotics smuggling in the Caribbean are both low-security threats, violence is a consistent characteristic. It has been present in almost all reported incidents. Although not firmly linked to piracy at sea within Southeast Asia, like narcotics smuggling within the Caribbean, ReCAAP reports indicate that crews became the main victims of assault during attacks. The number of ship’s crew, the majority from the Philippines but also from further afield, who had experienced violence at the hand of pirates between 2003 and 2007.

A decline in the rate of attacks over this period, suggested that enforcement of law at sea through coordinated patrolling and information sharing had begun an incremental alleviation of the problem of piracy in Southeast Asia. In 2003, pirates killed two crewmembers, abandoned five others, seriously injured ten, kidnapped two, held 30 hostages and assaulted them, while ten more were threatened with injury. In 2004, pirates seriously injured eight crewmembers, while kidnapping 14 and abandoning one. Additionally, pirates assaulted 27 and took 11 hostages, threatening them with injury. In 2005, pirates killed one crewmember, abandoned two, injured four and kidnapped four, while taking 16 hostages, assaulting six others. In 2006, pirates killed two crew, seriously injured four were seriously injured, kidnapped one crewmember, assaulted or took hostage 24 and threatened five with injury. By 2007, 77 incidents of piracy at sea against ships occurred, one person was killed or missing, one crewmember was abandoned, one seriously injured, four kidnapped and three threatened with injury.[129] Typically, piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea occurred where the attackers would be least at risk from maritime law enforcement authorities. The process of cooperation began as a gradual development from discussions at the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century to address decreasing security at sea in Southeast Asia towards the end of the 1990s.

A Coordinated Approach

Through forums, the first held in March 2000 with a regional gathering in Singapore, early cooperation between many states in Southeast Asia appeared to be leading toward some form of agreement on law enforcement at sea to protect shipping. At this meeting, those Asian state-run agencies that provided maritime policing specifically addressed the issue of piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea. A Tokyo conference in April 2000 followed. Titled, ‘Regional Conference on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships’, the second conference received financial support from the Japanese Nippon Foundation. It cast a wide net suggesting encouragement of cooperation between almost all Asian countries. Participants included Coast Guard officials from 14 countries; Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong (China), and all ten ASEAN countries; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and India. The theme of the conference was Asian anti-piracy at sea challenges in the year 2000.[130] An aim of the conference had been to discuss effective measures in the maintenance and enhancement of maritime security related to unlawful acts at sea within the region. Outcomes of the conference included a consensus agreement to hold regular discussions on anti-piracy at sea, mutual visits of patrol vessels, conducting combined exercises, and a maritime law enforcement-training course facilitated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), accepting students from non-Malaysian states.

To ensure continuation of the spirit of cooperation engendered through the Tokyo ‘Regional Conference on Combating Piracy 2000’, four ‘experts’ meetings were held that each had a similar theme of combating piracy at sea and armed robbery against ships. These meetings were reminiscent of the European Union Heads of government meeting in Madrid in 1995, and in Barbados leading to the ‘plan of action’ statements between CARICOM members in 1996 that had laid the groundwork for the six-part bilateral agreements. The combating piracy experts’ meetings were held respectively in; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November 2000; in Jakarta, Indonesia in March 2002; in Manila, the Philippines in March 2003; and in Pattaya, Thailand in February 2004, and also laid the foundations of further resolutions.

A draft resolution acknowledged existing international security regimes that had a bearing on maritime security in Southeast Asia. The relevant international conventions included UNCLOS, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (Rome Convention, 1988) and its Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf. Additionally, Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS 1974 refers to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code taking effect on 1 July 2004.[131] The draft resolution also acknowledged the contribution of coast guard agencies within Southeast Asia and the promotion of ‘practical coordination and cooperation’ and significantly, the building of mutual trust in implementing international law. Significantly, within the resolution a caveat provided that, in accordance with national laws, each state had the right to ‘determine its own policy’ and retain the ‘principle of voluntary engagement of each coast guard agency’. This was in keeping with rights of sovereignty and non-interference principles that Southeast Asian states sought to uphold, and later confirmed at meetings between senior members of Asian Coast Guard agencies.[132]

The other complimentary meeting was held in Tokyo, between Southeast Asian coast guard authorities. Terrorism was a current, significant aspect of these discussions. Since the SOLAS Convention 1974 took effect on 01 July 2004, the first ‘Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Asia’ meeting took place in Tokyo, Japan on June 2004, and proposals at this meeting sought ways to protect against maritime terrorism as well as piracy at sea in Southeast Asia. Adopting the resolution (albeit with caveats) drafted at the conclusion of the 2nd‘Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Asia’ meeting on 22 March 2006, were senior officials from Asian Coast Guard Agencies of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.[133]

Malacca Straits Sea Patrols

However, while the key states had increased their level of security cooperation from 2004 onwards, Malaysia and Indonesia had independently sought to increase their capacity to enforce law at sea. Under a Joint Coordinating Committee Program, the three states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were able to find consensus on how maritime security would function. The committee, which was referred to as a legal framework for international cooperation, was established through reference to Article 43 of UNCLOS, which requests states to cooperate on matters relating to the safety of navigation.[134] Article 100 of UNCLOS also requests that states cooperate to ‘the fullest extent possible’ to prevent piracy on the high seas, although with reference only to areas outside the jurisdiction of any state. This is consistent with the way that UNCLOS and IMO distinguish between piracy that occurs on the high seas and armed robbery, referring to the same criminal activity but occurring within the territorial sea. Article 43 provides a basis for cooperation between states, using the issue of maritime safety as a springboard to discussing other matters, such as security. From this basic forum, development began on a cooperatively developed security program. Initially codenamed MALSINDO, the Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia coordinated patrols became the MSSPs. Launched 20 July 2004, this sub-regional agreement focussed on securing the Straits of Malacca and Singapore by providing coordinated maritime patrols, albeit that did not include provision for hot pursuit. Participation was limited to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore initially, although Thailand joined the group in 2008. Building on the apparent success of MSSPs, establishment of another sub-regional program called Eyes-in-the-Skies air patrols in September 2005, sought to improve maritime aerial surveillance capacity. A further information and dissemination program initially called the Intelligence Exchange Group, and later renamed, The Malacca Straits Patrols Information Sharing Exercise (MSP-IS), also built upon the apparent success of the MSSPs; the MSP-IS was officially commenced in 2006. Although direct participation in MSP-IS was limited to the three principal states (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) and later a fourth state (Thailand), states external to the region could contribute. Japan contributed patrol craft and law enforcement officers, the United States provided some funding of regional capacity building and other maritime projects, and India conducted joint patrols with both Singapore and Indonesia.

Piracy at sea had been problematic in Southeast Asia but territorial disputes impacted the way that security cooperation developed. For instance, when Singapore decided to increase its physically small, territorial land mass on its surrounding isles, Seraya, Merbabu, Merlimau, Ayer, Chawan, Sakra, Pesek, MesemutLaut and Meskon, barges were sent out to dredge sand from the sea-floor. Western Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Muryono reportedly termed this trade as ‘sand-smuggling’ by Singapore, as the practice occurred within Indonesian waters one day beyond the export license expiry date. Indonesian Admiral Slamet Soebijanto, referred to the issuance of ground-sand export permits by Indonesia and abuse of this system as threatening Indonesia’s sovereignty. Soebijanto’s concerns ostensibly referred to mining permit infractions but actually involved the Singaporean islands getting closer (due to increased size) to Indonesia. Therefore, Indonesia’s solution, according to Admiral Soebijanto was to increase the number of patrol boats operating in the disputed region along the maritime border between both countries.[135]

While Malaysia maintained a level of maritime law enforcement prior to the introduction of MSSPs, John S. Burnett wrote in 2002 of the frustration for Malaysian police trying to prosecute suspected pirates charged with attacks on international shipping in the Straits of Malacca. Onboard a Malaysian Police patrol boat, Burnett interviewed Jalaludin Kassim, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Malaysian Southern Command’s Marine Police anti-Piracy at sea Operations:

[w]e can catch them [the pirates] committing another crime and they will admit they attacked ships. The IMB has a report and we can know which ships have been attacked. Our investigations take time, and by then the captains [of the ships attacked] don’t testify that they were attacked. Our investigations take time, and by then the captains are in another part of the world ... this makes our job nearly impossible.[136]

Ship owners tend to under-report such incidents, preferring to avoid an investigation requiring ship’s officers. It could result in ship’s detention in port, resulting in unwelcome insurance attention. With the possibility that deficiencies in anti-piracy at sea measures have in part led to the vessel being under-prepared and vulnerable, costs of premiums have a potential to rise.[137]

By July 2006, private estimates of threat in the Malacca and Singapore Straits had diminished.[138] Media reports were suggesting that Indonesia was concerned at the high cost of fuel oils used to operate their 25 patrol boats and eight patrol aircraft. These had all been part of Operation Garita in July 2005, a report indicating that cost of fuel would limit their continued use and questioned who should be paying for this. It was only after further attacks that these arguments appeared to cease.[139] In December 2005, the International Chamber of Commerce reported the recovery of a chemical tanker ship that had been carrying palm oil from Pelambang, Indonesia to China. Alerts sent out to all ships when the owners could not contact the vessel, resulted in an intelligence-influx of sightings, and ended back in Indonesian waters when the pirates left the ship and crew six days later.[140] There were further attacks on United Nations vessels in July 2006. By late 2006, concerns raised by the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre indicated security issues in parts of Indonesia - Gaspar/ Leplia Straits, TanjongPriok (Jakarta) and the Straits of Malacca. Although the numbers of attacks were down due to increased and constant patrolling by regional state authorities since July 2005, advice to ships was to continue maintaining strict anti-piracy at sea watches when transiting the straits. The IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre added that pirates in several boats had attacked ships underway. In 2005, Indonesia had been among five high-risk areas, and scored far more attacks and attempted attacks on ships than any other region. Piracy indicators on IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre maps littered the Straits of Malacca, Sunda Straits and the east coast of Kalimantan, Indonesia.[141] By 2006 and 2007, comparative indexes for both years indicated Bangladesh had a comparable number of incidents, although largely against ships at anchor. Although the 2005 IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre indicator map indicated many piracy at sea incidents, by 2006/2007 the numbers had dropped to five reported attacks.[142]

As in the Caribbean, implementing maritime law enforcement arrangements for some Southeast Asia states would be challenging if they retained only limited maritime policing capacities. Within Southeast Asia, Singapore is well-positioned to coordinate its various maritime-related authorities, and had a maritime policing capacity that Malaysia, and particularly Indonesia, initially did not possess in 2004 when coordinated patrolling began. Within the Caribbean, weak maritime policing capacity of many smaller states had limited their effectiveness to provide law enforcement at sea on their own, despite having much smaller maritime territories than states within Southeast Asia.

Weak capacity had therefore provided several Caribbean states an incentive to build capacity by participating in bilateral maritime law enforcement agreements with the United States. However, within Southeast Asia, some states had already made clear, by rejecting the United States RMSI proposal, that direct external assistance was unlikely to be welcomed. Despite achieving agreement on how multilateral coordinated patrolling would occur, the MSSPs arrangements could only be fully effective if further capacity building was undertaken by Malaysia and Indonesia.

Regional Maritime Security Initiative

The United States Government played a significant role in the way that maritime law enforcement developed within the Caribbean and Southeast Asia in the post-Cold War era, both prior to and after 9/11. Although the national interests and strategic priorities of the United States have continued to affect security relations between states generally, its dominant position as a proponent of rule of law in the international system has meant that regional actors could choose security partners trusting that their legal rights to territorial sovereignty would be respected.[143] Combined with the United States’ evolution away from prioritising global, military, strategic issues has allowed regional states within the Caribbean and Southeast Asia to have more confidence in their ability to play a more active role in decision-making regarding their own security, with less fear that the most dominant player would ignore legal process or territorial sovereignty.[144] The USCG’s diplomatic role represented the United States Government, seeking partnerships with states to enforce law at sea. After 9/11, the changing emphasis on terrorism at sea altered this dynamic.

Because the Caribbean bilateral maritime law enforcement agreements between the USCG and Caribbean states were initiated and largely completed prior to 9/11 terrorist attack and the declared ‘war on terror’, the timing is significant. In Southeast Asia, anti-terrorism indirectly assisted states to work towards maritime security cooperation. Decisions made by states in both the Caribbean and Southeast Asia on issues of maritime security were impacted by the consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attack, not least because perceptions about the United States intentions changed thereafter. After 2001, states in Southeast Asia saw terrorism, Islam and crime underscoring every effort by the United States to secure maritime security cooperation in the region. At this politically sensitive period for states with Muslim populations, the United States Navy announced a proposed maritime security operation; the Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI).

Admiral Tom Fargo announced RMSI in March and May 2004, implying that United States military forces deploy in the Malacca and Singapore Straits alongside regional state authorities. Although rejected by some states in Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia, the announcement of RMSI proposed further engagement globally, consistent with ‘war on terror’ rhetoric, through constabulary roles where the United States formed security partnerships with regional systems of states.[145] A public statement in March 2004 (and later in May 2004) confirmed that the United States military acknowledged that the nature of security threats since 9/11 terrorist attack had widened. At a Pacific Command (PACOM) posture testimony to the United States House of Representatives, Fargo–– Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Command, (CINCPAC)––indicated the new direction the United States would take in Southeast Asia with regard to the war on terror.[146] Fargo later restated this new direction at a legal conference held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in May 2004.[147] Under the proposed title of Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI), the United States Military would consider a regional partnership of states who might ‘contribute their resources’ in a way similar to the way that bilateral arrangements had operated in the Caribbean Sea. Reasons stated by Fargo for RMSI included that security threats now included smuggling narcotics, piracy, human trafficking, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Fargo took the position that these were transnational threats that challenged maritime security within Southeast Asia and their illicit purposes abused the ocean environment and poor security and poor governance allowed potential havens for criminal or terrorist activity, providing relatively inconspicuous means by which to move around. Fargo proposed that a regional maritime security agreement would improve situational awareness through surveillance and information sharing assist to secure maritime borders and integrate coast guard and naval operations. RMSI would focus more on law enforcement than the application of military capability. Other post 9/11 terrorist attack initiatives would support RMSI; for example, port and harbour security through the Container Security Initiative (CSI). Fargo also made clear that the proposed RMSI would be a partnership between regional states in Southeast Asia that were willing to contribute resources. Not intended to be a treaty or alliance, RMSI would not consist of a naval force on station, patrolling the region. Fargo made a point of clarifying that the aim of RMSI was not to challenge sovereignty, as each participating state would act voluntarily and make decisions independently. Finally, Fargo insisted that RMSI would involve activities that complied with existing international and municipal law.[148]

Although the United States proposal was well intentioned, it failed to inspire a regional attitude of security cooperation. By failing to consult Southeast Asian states before the announcement of RMSI, the United States neglected the interests of regional, Southeast Asian states. The rejection of this new role by some states in Southeast Asia (in particular Indonesia and Malaysia) signalled that regional states were not going to automatically comply with the wishes of the United States on security matters in the way that states had felt compelled to do during the Cold War. Despite the specific nature of Fargo’s statement, consequent reaction from ASEAN member states to Fargo’s RMSI proposal varied but generally did not support external forces deploying within Southeast Asia. Indonesian and Malaysian governments led a rejection of any action not founded in prior consultation with Southeast Asian states, despite Fargo’s emphasis on consultancy between the United States and regional states as the next step. Perhaps also, due to the proposal appearing after announcement of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), with its implication of the war on Islamic-militant terrorist attacks, some Southeast Asian states (in particular Indonesia and Malaysia) appeared to be concerned that United States interest in the region was inflammatory. Some media reports depicted the United States deploying Special Forces on high-speed gunboats in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.[149] Consequently Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, would not invite the United States to join in any security operations of the type that RMSI proposed, because of a failure to seek prior permission from regional states. This failure weakened confidence in RMSI, and raised fears of this arrangement encroaching on Malaysia’s territorial sovereignty.[150] Nugroho Wisnumurti, a former director general for political affairs in the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that even when fighting terrorism, the deployment of external forces within Indonesian territorial waters grated against basic non-alignment principles of Indonesian foreign policy.[151] According to Yoichiro Sato, the solidarity of ASEAN states to resist intervention by external powers plays an important role in the way that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore make decisions about security. Allowing the United States, China, Japan, India and possibly South Korea to balance amongst themselves, ASEAN states regard external powers as providers of supporting roles that left enforcement in the hands of the states themselves.[152]

Therefore, the ‘war on terror’ had changed the profile of international maritime law enforcement, becoming part of the overall security portrait associated with counter-terrorism. Counter-terrorism had merged military and policing for the United States military. Even counter-narcotics trafficking operations had gained new impetus and government support. The United States was already prosecuting a ‘war on drugs’ within the Caribbean before September 2001. Following the 9/11 terrorist attack, the United States-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, heightened security and linked terrorism with religion. Counter-terrorism permeated the way that United States viewed its own security and non-state threats could be ‘attached’ to other threats, such as general maritime crime. For the United States, the 9/11 terrorist attacks raised awareness at an official level that low-security activities by non-state actors could be a threat to its national interests. Although regional states had begun the process of coordinating maritime security within Southeast Asia, the availability of other means to facilitate maritime security cooperation depended on the attitudes of individual actors. At the sub-regional level, Singapore sought to use ReCAAP and the Information Sharing Centre (ISC). Singapore’s neighbouring states Malaysia and Indonesia had taken individual action toward capacity building within their respective territorial seas. In part, this was due to uneven maritime law enforcement capacities and different prioritisation of security at sea by all three states but also influenced by existing Cold War era security arrangements. Within the Caribbean, pre-existing defence initiatives, such as the Regional Security System, had not immediately led to improved cooperation on other low-security issues, in the way that the USCG had been able to respond to narcotics smuggling. However, the United States Navy had first been targeted to lead maritime law enforcement efforts, largely because it had an excess of capacity, and initially at least, a strategy re-defining its operational purpose in the immediate post-Cold War era had not been articulated.

Five-Power Defence Arrangement

The Five-Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) provided another available mechanism for some Southeast Asian states. A focus on asymmetric and non-conventional security threats following the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York meant a new role for the FPDA. The FPDA was created in 1971, with a focus on Singapore and Malaysia’s transitional, short-term security arrangements at a time when they were both emerging, independent states. Parties to the agreement include Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. In the post-Cold War era, the FPDA has had less prominence as a regional security mechanism than the ASEAN Regional Forum but it retained the framework for maritime security cooperation between its member states. In contrast, ASEAN Regional Forum had regular conferences allowing heads of state or their representatives to confer on a range of security issues that have not been limited to defence. At the time of the FPDA’s formation, its member states, such as Australia had been interested in the concept of ‘forward defence’. However, the FPDA’s contemporary significance allowed retention of an Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) and a Royal Australian Air Force presence in Malaysia. This facilitated regional aerial surveillance programs, coordinated aerial surveillance and patrolling over the Malacca and Singapore Straits at a critical period of when states were looking to bring together their law enforcement at sea. The FPDA was officially given new life at a Singapore meeting on 7 June 2004, as ministers from all five member states ‘recognised the need for the FPDA to adapt to new challenges in the regional security environment, including threats from terrorism and a range of non-conventional sources’.[153] FPDA thereafter retained a defence-focused agreement status built on an underlying commitment by member coastal and external states to confer regularly on security issues as a confidence building measure. A significant cooperative ingredient in Southeast Asia due to its flexibility, the FPDA is adaptive to changing security circumstances and promotes consultation between states on defence and other regional security issues.[154] A main drawback is that Indonesia has not been central to the arrangements, although there is official acknowledgement that Indonesia benefits from any enhancement of regional security that the FPDA offers.[155]

5.6 Improving Security at Sea: Ongoing Developments

In 2004, following a FPDA Defence Minister’s Meeting and the Shangri-La Dialogue, the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore agreed to hold coordinated patrols under the banner of the Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrol (MSCP), involving Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The arrangement was later referred to as the Malacca Straits Security Patrols (MSSPs). Patrols went ahead in July 2004 with 17 vessels from the three key states, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia patrolling their respective territorial waters. In July 2004 Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia signed the ‘Eyes in the Skies’ agreement, a program of coordinated aerial surveillance patrols and exchanges of personnel as part of MSSPs; Eyes in the Skies aerial surveillance patrols commenced operational patrols in September 2005 and involved strict rules regarding over-flight of territories. An official from each state was to be aboard every flight as a means to retain jurisdiction if an aircraft crossed into the territorial airspace of a neighbouring (and participating) state.

Indonesian Navy reports of ministerial-level meetings between the three states in 2005-06, encouraged by earlier bilateral and trilateral arrangements led to a formal shift in Indonesia’s willingness to cooperate on security within the Malacca Straits. Four previous naval arrangements between various Southeast Asian states indicated that maritime security cooperation was possible; these included two Malaysia-Indonesia arrangements (MALINDO CORPAT and OPTIMA MALINO CORPAT), one between Indonesia and Singapore (INDOSIN CORPAT), and another including all three states (MALSINDO CORPAT). A Tripartite Ministerial Meeting of the (three) Littoral States began the process of formal cooperation. Titled, ‘The Straits of Malacca and Singapore’, held in Batam 1-2 August 2005, a following ‘Jakarta Meeting’ held on 7-8 September 2005 with the title of, ‘The Strait of Malacca and Singapore Enhancing Safety, Security and Environmental Protection’. These led to a signing of Standard Operating Procedures of Malacca Straits Patrols on 20-21 April 2006.[156] These commander level arrangements laid the groundwork for coordinated patrolling and information sharing. Additionally, it laid out the four sectored areas of operations, operation procedures, areas of responsibility, reporting procedures between state forces, radio frequencies, telephone contacts, maritime safety and public relations information. Finally, it included agreement on the issue of ‘hot pursuit’ involving tracking vessels, rather than physically pursuing them.[157]

Within 12 months of commencement of its initial but non-formalised operation in 2004, the coordinated maritime patrols had reportedly reduced the incidence of maritime attacks in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. From 38 reported pirate attacks in the Strait of Malacca in 2004 to 12 in 2005 and from eight in 2004 to seven in 2005 in the Singapore Straits. Reduced piracy incidents gave cause for politicians to call for changes in the way external actors (including media) were portraying security in the straits.[158] However, some restrictions to the coordinated patrols included the question of the areas in which deployment could take place, the make-up of crews aboard vessels and aircraft, as well as coming to agreement on complex ‘hot pursuit’ issues. While improvements in the rate of patrolling lowered the incidence of reported pirate attacks in the Malacca Straits, reports continued to appear. In August 2005, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda complained about reports appearing on the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre daily bulletins. Wirayuda stated that the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre was overstating the extent of the security threats in the Malacca and Singapore Straits, but did not deny that problems still existed. He disputed the IMB-Piracy Reporting Centre reports attributing all problems to piracy at sea.[159]

Despite normalisation of coordinated patrolling at sea, and a reduction of the frequency of pirate attacks, further incidents in 2006 provided enough reason for Lloyd’s Joint War Committee to consider retaining its ‘enhanced risk’ assessment of the area.[160] Each attack was a weather gauge of the risk that hull and cargo insurers had to carry as ships transited the Malacca and Singapore Straits, and some incidents in particular had not inspired confidence. While the Indonesian Navy in January 2006 had been able to negotiate with pirates holding two commercial ships and their crews hostage, the pirate’s negotiator turned out to be an Indonesian (TNI) soldier; eventually all hostages were freed and their captors arrested by the Indonesian Navy off Aceh Tamiang (North Sumatra).[161] By June 2006 attacks were less frequent in Southeast Asian waters but two new attacks on United Nations construction barges, Pacific Spirit and Bintang Samudra, on the second of July did raise new concerns that piracy at sea was beginning to recur in the region following the initial lull that occurred after the December 2004 tsunami. Nevertheless, as these barges were targeted by heavily-armed men who fired warning shots, Noel Choong at the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, stated that he was concerned as ‘pirates are not normally so heavily armed, and these attacks happened in daylight’. Choong feared that pirates so heavily armed were likely to be involved in kidnapping crews for ransom.[162]

When President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono discussed security in the Malacca Straits on June 2006 with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Batam Island, he was optimistic. Yudhoyono saw that Indonesian cooperation to secure the Malacca Straits with Singapore was showing positive results, indicated by a significant drop in the number of pirate attacks, and this was leading the way to further enhancement of existing cooperation on maritime security.[163] However, it was also a time when the Indonesian government was negotiating to buy new patrol boats for its navy, to develop military infrastructure and manufacturing with South Korea,[164] and purchase three new warships (a corvette, destroyer and frigate) from Russia. At a cost of US$335 million and with the addition of two or three Russian-built Kilo-class submarines, there was a sense that the Indonesian military was genuine in its interest in building capacity.[165] The country’s military spending was set in 2006 at about 28 trillion rupiah (US$2.83 billion), up from 23.3 trillion rupiah in 2005. Most spending toward asset acquisitions for the Indonesian Navy and the Air Force included additional Russian-made, Sukhoi jet fighters.[166] Indonesian defence forces, especially its navy was dated but the increases in high-end military spending suggested that Indonesia was seeking to meet the naval capability of Singapore and Malaysia, and to allow it to deploy regular maritime patrols in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.[167]

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

By standing up a coast guard agency in 2005, Malaysia signalled that its government was serious about policing the straits. The outcome of government studies in 1999 and 2000 indicated that multiple Malaysian, law enforcement agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and functions made for poor economy of available maritime resources. Consequently, a government core team had formulated basic policy and practical implementation requirements. With the enactment of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Act 2004 (Act 633), the Malaysian Parliament formerly established the authority in May of the same year.[168] Gazetted on 01 July 2004, the act came into force on 15 February 2005 and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) gained operational status on 30 November 2005, and officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia on 21 March 2006.[169]

Therefore, the Malaysian government had begun to increase its maritime policing capacity, and meet its responsibilities under the MSSPs, by creating a completely new government authority. The purpose of the MMEA was to assume the duties of the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre based in Kuala Lumpur, and compliment other Malaysian marine authorities, including the Royal Malaysian (Marine) Police, the Royal Malaysian Navy, and the departments of Environment, Immigration and Royal Customs and Excise. Commander Senior Assistant Commissioner II Isa Munir headed the Marine Operations Force (MOF),[170] a division of the Royal Malaysian Police tasked with preventing crime and keeping public order.

Whichever Malaysian minister charged with the responsibility for the MMEA also commanded it. Not unlike the United States Coast Guard (that the MMEA was partly modelled upon), during times of war, special crisis or emergency, the Malaysian Armed Forces would command the MMEA. Whereas Munir saw the Malaysian Navy’s role as external defence, the MMEA role provided security and maritime law enforcement.[171] Malaysia has long coastlines that border the Straits of Malacca, part of the South China Sea as well as northwest Borneo, where the (Malaysian) provinces of Sabah and Sarawak are located. With less involvement in shipping than Singapore, Malaysia nevertheless has significant volumes of vessels transiting its territorial waters via the Malacca and Singapore Straits.[172]

Promoted as the principal government agency, the task of the MMEA is to provide law and order within the Malaysia’s maritime ‘zone’ and on the high seas and therefore represents a model of maritime policing for other regional states. The Philippines and Indonesia later looked to the MMEA when considering setting up their own coast guards. Although fundamentally a policing agency, MMEA reports directly to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office, and the Malaysian monarch appoints its director general.[173] With a wide tasking brief, it assists in any criminal matter, if requested by a foreign state, as provided under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002. This compliments regional coordination, by allowing the MMEA to operate air and coastal surveillance, provide its vessels as platforms supporting any relevant maritime agency. It established and managed maritime institutions for the training of officers and provided other duties including territorial and high seas search and rescue. At the outset of its operations, the MMEA lacked capacity, having only a small fleet of patrol boats, adding aircraft from early 2009.[174] However, the range of security operations with which the Malaysian Government tasked MMEA included a high seas law enforcement capacity, to prevent and suppress pirate attacks on ships at sea and illicit traffic in narcotic drugs.[175]

Further meetings on the direction of Malaysian maritime security indicated that Malaysia’s government was trying hard to meet challenges laid out in the Asia Maritime Security Initiative 2004 (AMARSECTIVE2004) but also to normalise regular forums. Chaired by Japanese Coast Guard commandant Kenichi Fukaya, and attended by representatives of 17 states plus observers,[176] AMARSECTIVE2004 had been an inclusive regional forum. Information sharing, maritime terrorism and piracy at sea were key issues discussed. On 20-23 March 2006, MMEA’s second Meeting of the Head of Coast Guard Agencies Asia, titled ‘Regional Cooperation in Maritime Security and Safety’ took place. Director General of MMEA, Vice Admiral Dato Mohammad Bin Nik, in his opening speech stated that the meeting focussed on ‘un-lawful acts at sea in the region covering issues on anti-piracy at sea and anti-maritime crimes’.[177] This meeting sought to give support and recognition to initiatives of individual states, to promote cooperation on law enforcement, and provide a forum for sharing ideas on the way forward for the practicalities of maritime security.[178] According to Nik such meetings allowed common concerns of Southeast Asian states to be raised and future cooperation to be discussed.[179]

According to the Malaysian Government, terrorism had become such an international concern that this had prompted Malaysia to set up a specialised maritime agency. Therefore, the MMEA deigned to send a strong message to external actors, especially Lloyd’s Joint War Committee but also to other states that security cooperation was working by encouraging states to act to advance security through joint as well as independent self-improvements. On 21 March 2006, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated that despite the high-risk status of the Straits of Malacca, there were indications that since the standing up of the MMEA the straits were better patrolled and less risky, and therefore Lloyd’s Joint War Committee should reassess their previous judgements.[180] A few days later, Admiral Dato’ Sri Abdul Aziz bin Hj Jaafar, Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy argued a need to maintain close relationships, establish a funding system, conduct coordinated patrols, establish a special ‘hot pursuit’ arrangement, and establish a scheme of exchange of officers. Aziz concluded that it was imperative that states work towards cooperative strategies, signing up for key international treaties, codes and conventions but that regional cooperation was vital, and that a robust legal framework and regional cooperation were essential tools for effective security at sea.[181]

Malaysia’s maritime capability improvements prompted official perceptions, at least within Malaysia, that consolidating regional cooperation could result in a more comprehensive, and mutually beneficial maritime security regime. Nik saw the need for provision of common maritime law but establishment of extent of jurisdiction and cooperation agreements, as well as regular meetings, seminars and exercises. Nik argued for an adequate legal, protective regime for more effective law enforcement at sea that would be a preventative and cooperative regime that made provision for an incident command structure, a common terminology and integrated communications providing comprehensive resource management, rapidly relayed alerts and development of contingency plans.[182]
Challenges for Indonesia

Since Indonesia has always been a large, disparate but politically unified construct, its many political and national factions have often tried literally tearing it apart. It is not comparable to any state in the Caribbean except perhaps Cuba, due to its historic reluctance to participate in regional programs of security. Successive Indonesian governments have sought to consolidate national identity and integrity and political reaffirmation of territorial sovereignty. Consequently, the influences and national interests of external actors challenge the territorial sovereignty of the state.[183] Consequently, maritime security and safety have rated less official attention in Indonesia than the cohesion of the Indonesian state itself. Unlike Malaysia and Singapore, internal conflicts, such as those in Aceh and Central Sulawesi provinces, the political/military struggle with reform, as well a paucity of capacity to enforce law at sea in such an extensive archipelago, have affected the way that Indonesia interrelates with other states on issues of security. For Indonesia, maritime geography often determines its security strengths and vulnerabilities security at sea depends on domestic priorities within the state. An important difference between Indonesia and other states in Southeast Asia has been the way that security within the republic has consistently focused on internal perceptions of threat and imminent political disintegration in an archipelago that could incorporate (in size) the entire Caribbean Sea and islands.

Indonesia’s dual focus on commanding its territorial seas while retaining internal political cohesion reflects the ill-defined role of its navy[184] when responding to maritime threats. In the first decade of the 21st century, Indonesia lacks a dedicated coast guard, its maritime policing capacity consisting of its naval forces supported by civilian police. Although it lacks capacity, the prime role of Indonesia’s naval forces is to police the archipelago and act as guardian of the state’s political integrity. Despite the moderate size of its ageing fleet of vessels, accusations of corruption and self-interest limit its ability to conduct effective maritime patrols.[185] In February 2005, Admiral Bernard Kent Sondakh announced that other states had smaller naval forces but Indonesia’s naval forces, and its 129 patrol vessels were insufficient, ageing or obsolete.[186] Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Slamet Soebijanto stated in September 2007, that the Indonesian Navy required an additional 262 warships to maintain security of the country’s 17,000 islands.[187]

As Indonesia’s maritime law enforcement, capability shortfall has been a combination of underfunded, ageing naval assets and an inability to crew the obsolete platforms it has state has sought external assistance. Hugo Grotius had noted Portuguese and Spanish interests initially sought to divide the ‘Moluccas’ but even they had first to pay taxes to local chiefs because legally they did not have sovereignty over the islands.[188] However, the ships of external states regularly transit international shipping routes through Indonesia, in accord with UNCLOS Article 52. From the Indian Ocean through Southeast Asia into the Pacific Ocean, they do not necessarily contribute, through trade with Indonesia, for this privilege.[189] Therefore, unlike the trade that Singapore receives through shipping, there is an expectation that Indonesia contribute to MSSP, despite receiving a disproportionate trade benefit in return. The Indonesian Defence Minister Professor Juwono Sudarsono illuminated these issues in June 2007, during a speech at the sixth Shangri-la Dialogue held in Singapore. Sudarsono aired some of grievances, explaining official reluctance to cooperate with external initiatives stemmed from Indonesia lacking capacity to provide its own maritime law enforcement as it did not have the money, manpower, ships, skills or training. Indonesia needed other states to provide assistance in these areas, and it had sourced regional Asian powers, China and Japan for these. Sudarsono’s speech focussed on the dominance of the United States in maritime security cooperation, the role of China and Japan in balancing the power of the United States and comprehensive maritime security. Sudarsono pointed out that since the United States had proposed the RMSI (that had been rejected by Indonesia), it had facilitated the ISPS Code, sought to increase the security of international sea lanes as part of an overall ‘war on terror’, and had participated actively in the ASEAN Regional Forum,Asian Security Conference.[190] For Sudarsono, comprehensive maritime security had to be holistic, connecting increasing levels of shipping in the Straits of Malacca to other safety issues such as, environmental degradation and low fish stocks that forced subsistence fishers to turn to pirate attacks in order to feed their families.[191]

Sudarsono’s complaints resonated with local media, who reiterated the security shortfalls, and warned that external states who sought to build Indonesian maritime policing capacity through donating maritime assets would find other means if Indonesia did nothing. Indonesia’s Jakarta Post newspaper warned in 2007 that external actors with ‘strong economic and political interests in the waterway’ would predominate and direct the course of maritime security ‘if Indonesia remains unable to play a credible and sustainable role’ in the Strait of Malacca.[192] The same editorial argued that piracy at sea and other security problems challenged the ability of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to ‘continue to reject the presence of foreign powers’ in the Strait.[193] Nevertheless, Japan donated three patrol boats to Indonesia in November 2007. These were 27-metre boats, operated by 12 personnel, with patrol speeds of 32 knots, and fitted with high-tech communication and navigation equipment. The agreement with Japan was that these patrol boats should be located in Tanjung Batu, Riaw and Belawan and Medan (North Sumatra).[194] In January 2008, 15 patrol boats were also gifted to Indonesia by the United States after Indonesia had requested the donation of patrol boats due to its own limited and dated capabilities, ostensibly to enable counter-illicit drug smuggling patrols in the Malacca Straits.[195]

5.7 Maritime Security Consolidation

Building Confidence

Within the Caribbean, confidence building remained at the bilateral maritime law enforcement bilateral partnership level, with some information sharing, whereas coordinated patrolling within Southeast Asia built confidence between multiple key actors, therefore providing a foundation for further multilateral security cooperation.[196] On 21 April 2006, the MSSPs received official recognition by representatives of each state that was party to the agreement, with some consideration given to expanding participation in the future. MSSPs did not allow deployment of external forces within the straits, although there was some agreement on intelligence sharing, and some practical training aid provided by the USCG and potential future partners to the agreements with India and Thailand. Participation for external states would allow their naval forces to patrol the Andaman Sea approaches at the northern end of the Straits of Malacca. However, initial signatories only included the Chief of Defence Force of Malaysian Armed Forces, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Nor, the Chief of the Singapore Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Ng Yat Chung and Air Chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto of the Indonesian Defence force. Suyanto stated that the treaty allowed the three states in the Malacca Straits littoral to ‘combat armed sea robberies, sea-piracy and any illegal activities as well as threats to shipping’. Suyanto regarded that Thailand, with a coastline adjoining the northern end of the Malacca Straits, had potential to be a future partner to this treaty.[197] This proved to be correct, although it was not until September 2008 that the Royal Thai Navy formalised its participation into the Malacca Strait Sea Patrols. Commander-in-Chief of the Thai Navy, Admiral Sathiraphan Keyanont, stated that participation would boost security at sea, and prevent attacks on the public, referring to crews of ships.[198]

By August 2006, the maritime security situation outlook improved, due partly to ongoing collaboration between states, and partly to a re-assessment by Lloyd’s. Lloyd’s adjusted its assessment of the Malacca and Singapore Straits, although ports along northeastern Sumatra were still deemed at risk, and be subject to war-risk surcharges. Lloyd’s changed assessment implied that the security situation at sea had improved generally, even though it needed more improvement at the sub-regional level. By December 2006, the coordinated MSSPs included Thailand, prompting Indonesian media to describe the four states as ‘Southeast Asian guardians of the Malacca Straits’.[199] Regional senior defence officials raised the prospect of building on the success of coordinated patrolling by extending cooperation between states to information sharing. During discussions with Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono, Malaysian Defence Minister Najib Rajak stated that due to the decreasing number of incidents of piracy at sea against ships, ‘[w]e will not change our current approach, namely coordinated patrols, because this is the right approach’.[200]

Improving Security Coordination

In order to increase coordination between the states, Singapore’s Defence Minister announced in 28 March 2007 the building of a joint command, information collection and dissemination centre to house three maritime groups under one roof. By assemblage of the Singapore Maritime Security Centre, the Information Fusion Centre and the Multinational Operations and Exercises Centre, states could conduct flexible cooperation and respond effectively to the distinctive needs of Southeast Asia’s maritime security environment.[201] Singapore’s Ministry of Defence stated that the Malacca Straits Patrols Information Fusion Centre would involve Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI), the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF). It would operate out of Tuas Naval Base, Singapore. Projected to combine shipping databases and other maritime information, such as piracy at sea and armed robbery at sea, the Information Fusion Centre facilitated a coordinated response to incidents occurring within the Malacca and Singapore Straits.[202]

By May 2009, Malaysian official opinion was optimistic that piracy at sea would eventually cease to occur within the Malacca and Singapore Straits due to improved coordination of effort. Abdul Rahim Hussein from Malaysia’s National Security Council predicted the end of pirate attacks in the Malacca Straits due to the success of cooperation and coordination between the various regional marine authorities. As there had been few incidents during 2009 compared with 2004, when there were 38 attacks, Hussein argued that continuation of the policy of coordinated patrolling and information sharing by states continued to discourage pirate attacks against shipping in the straits. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesian states had been able to defeat local gangs of pirates that regularly targeted ships, denying them sanctuary ashore. If Malaysia and the other states could maintain the operational success for the following five years, then the criminal gangs could be broken.[203]


This chapter discussed the development of maritime security cooperation in Southeast Asia. How piracy at sea and the threat of piracy and terrorism, together with pressure from external states, and involvement of the United States, influenced actors within the region to develop a coordinated maritime security response. In what way is this comparable to events in the Caribbean where states coordinated maritime law enforcement responses through bilateral arrangements? Through use of international law and regional forums to construct practical security responses, Southeast Asian states have been able to shape maritime security cooperation into a form suited to regional values. This contrasts with the Caribbean, as it is a step away from allegiance or dependency on the United States for regional security, and towards consolidation of new norms of inter-dependent regional security, exclusive cooperation between states, and locally driven legal order.

[1] . James J. Wirtz,‘Will Globalization Sink the Navy?’, Globalization and Maritime Power, in Sam J. Tangredi, (ed.), Institute for National Strategic Studies, (US) National Defense University, 2002.
[2] . UN Atlas of the Oceans, International Maritime Organization, 2010.
[3] General James T. Hill, ‘Building Regional Security Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere: Issues and Recommendations’, Shaping the Regional Security Environment in Latin America, Preface, Strategic Studies Institute, October 2005, pp. v-1x.
[4] The ‘state’ often characterises government, its authority and its functionaries. In this thesis, the state is the authority having legal territorial sovereignty over an acknowledged area of land and sea within political borders, and that is able to make decisions on its own laws within those borders. Therefore, ‘external states’ refer to international actors that do not form part of the geographic region of either the Caribbean or Southeast Asia but may have interests in one or both.
[5] Stuart W. Smead, ‘A Thesis on Modern Day Piracy’, Southern Latitudes, 2001.
[6] The MV Cheung Son left Shanghai 13 November 1998. The vessel was never found and was likely ‘re-berthed’, (whereby its name and registration is illegally changed). Fishermen accidently made the discovery when the bodies caught on their nets. A number of arrests were made by Chinese authorities; Cargolaw, ‘Special Articles from the Cargo Letter for October 1999’, International Vessel Casualties and Pirates Database: Years 1999 and Before:The Forces of Pirates and Weather on Seaborne Commerce, The Law Offices of Countryman and McDaniel, Los Angeles, California, 2001.
[7] . United Nations Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1373 (2001); UNSCR 1456 (2003)
[8] . T.A. Martin, ‘The Impact of Narco-Trafficking and Interdiction on Shipping’, Strategic Insights, no. 15, Risk Intelligence, November 2008, pp. 8-12.
[9] Virginia Lunsford, ‘What Makes Piracy Work?’ United States Naval Institute. Proceedings, vol. 134, no. 12, December 2008, pp. 28-33.
[10] United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Articles 24-28, from ‘Duties of the Coastal State’, to ‘Civil Jurisdiction in relation to foreign ships’, 1982.
[11] S.R. Subramanian, ‘Fighting the Somali Pirates: The ‘Shipriders Agreement’ Breakthrough’, Jurist, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 29 January 2009.
[12] Kenneth C. Randall, Universal Jurisdiction under International Law, Texas Law Review, vol. 66, 1987-1988, pp. 785-841, in Michael Bahar, ‘Attaining Optimal Deterrence at Sea: a Legal and Strategic Theory for Naval Anti-Piracy Operations’, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, vol. 40, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1-86.
[13] Martin Wight, ‘Why is there no International Theory?’ International Relations, vol. 2, no. 1, 1960, pp. 35-48; Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press, NY, 1995, p.181.
[14] IMO, Protection of Vital Shipping Lanes: Sub-regional meeting to conclude agreements on maritime security, piracy and armed robbery against ships for States from the Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea areas, Council 102nd Session, Agenda item 14 (C102/14), 03 April 2009.
[15] IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships: Recommendations to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships, MSC/C.1333, Ref. T2-MSS/, 26 June 2009, pp. 6-7; Guidance to shipowners and ship operators, shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
[16] IMO, Protection of Vital Shipping Lanes.
[17] Mergawati Zulfakar and Teh Eng Hock, ‘National anti-piracy law in the pipeline’, The Star Online, Malaysia, 20 May 2009.
[18] ĖricFrécon, The Resurgence of Sea Piracy in Southeast Asia, IRASEC Occasional Paper, no. 5, 2008; Graham Gerard Ong-Webb, Piracy, Maritime Terrorism and Securing the Malacca Straits, ISEAS Publishing, Singapore, 2006; Derek Johnson and Mark Valencia, (eds), Piracy in Southeast Asia: Status, Issues, and Responses, ISEAS Publications, Singapore, 2005.
[19] UNCLOS 1982, Article 105.
[20] ReCAAP is more fully dealt with in section 5.4; IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships: Regional Co-Operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, MSC 83/19/2, Maritime Safety Committee, 83rd Session, Agenda item 19, 27 July 2007.
[21] IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships: Guidance to Shipowners and Ship Operators, Shipmasters and Crews on Preventing and Suppressing Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, MSC.1/Circ. 1334, Ref. T2-mss/, 23 June 2009.
[22] Ivica Tijardovic, ‘How low can we go’, Shiptalk, (UK), 8 December 2006.
[23] Noor Apandi Osnin and Choy Ngee Sheng, ‘Piratical Attacks Including the Seizure of Vessels for Ransom - Seafarer’s View’, The Views of the Shipping Industry on Piratical Attacks Including the Seizure of Vessels for Ransom, 3rd International Meeting on Piracy and Phantom Ships, Malaysia Centre for Ocean Law and Policy, MIMA, Kuala Lumpur, June 1998.
[24] John Patch, ‘The Overstated Threat’, United States Institute. Proceedings, vol. 134, no. 12, December 2008, pp. 34-39.
[25] UNCLOS, Article 111, ‘Right of Hot Pursuit’.
[26] Craig H. Allen, ‘Doctrine of Hot Pursuit: a Functional Interpretation Adaptable to Emerging Maritime Law Enforcement Technologies and Practices’, Ocean Development and International Law, vol. 20, iss. 4, 1989, pp. 309-341.
[27] An exception is China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea; this is an ongoing cause of friction and dispute with almost every other state in the region regarding the rights of states to the area’s resources.
[28] A contiguous zone may extend up to but not beyond 24 nautical miles from a coastal state’s base line, and refers to that area of sea adjacent to the territorial sea that allows limited provision to extend municipal laws of the state, such as customs, immigration, fiscal and environmental laws and provide sanctions and punishment for these when they occur within the territorial sea––– UNCLOS 1982, Article 33, ‘Contiguous Zone’.
[29] UN, ‘Table of Claims to Maritime Jurisdiction (as at 31 July 2010)’, Legislation and Treaties, 31 July 2010.
[30] An ‘exclusive economic zone’ (EEZ) such as that claimed by Australia and many other coastal states can extend to 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) offshore from what UNCLOS terms the baseline, that is described as the coastal low-water line; UNCLOS 1982, Articles 7, 14.
[31] UNCLOS 1982, ‘Table of Claims’.
[32] ‘Malaysia and Indonesia patch up on oil dispute’, The Financial Express, 8 March 2005.
[33] S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Pedra Branca: The Road to the World Court, National University of Singapore, 2001, pp. 1-16.
[34] UNCLOS 1982, Section 2 Article 15: The base line (UNCLOS, Articles 7, 14) refers to the low-water mark on shore, the median line is the point at which the limits of a coastal state’s territorial sea abuts an adjoining territorial sea, as occurs along the southern end of the Malacca and Singapore Straits–––UNCLOS, Section 2, Articles 3, 4, 11, 15 and 16.
[35] DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, US Department of Defense, Joint Publication 1-02, 8 November 2010.
[36] John S. Burnett, Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas, Penguin, NY, 2002, p. 285; The Oxford English Reference Dictionary (1995) defines ‘conspiracy’ as cons (with) and piracy (armed attack on a ship at sea); ‘conspiracy’ is ‘a secret plan to commit a crime or do harm, often for political ends’; to conspire is to ‘combine secretly to plan and prepare an unlawful or harmful act’.–––Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press, NY, 1995.p. 181.
[37] ‘Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation’, Rome, United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 1678, no. 29004, 1992, pp. 222-234.
[38] Graham G. Ong-Webb, ‘Ships Can Be Dangerous, too: Coupling Piracy and Terrorism in Southeast Asia’s maritime Security Network’, in Derek Johnson and Mark Valencia, (eds), Piracy in Southeast Asia: Status, Issues and Responses, ISEAS Publications, Singapore, 2005.
[39] Brian Fort, ‘Transnational Threats and the Maritime Domain’, in Johnson and Valencia, Piracy in Southeast Asia. pp. 23-36.
[40] Ong-webb, ‘Ships Can Be Dangerous’.
[41] Adam J. Young, and Mark J. Valencia, ‘Conflation of Piracy and Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Rectitude and Utility’, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 25, no. 2, 2003, pp. 269-283.
[42] ‘Peril on the Sea’, The Economist, 2 October 2003.
[43] ‘Dire Straits’, Time, 29 November 2004.
[44] ‘Pirate attacks won’t influence insurance rates’, Taipei Times, 4 July 2005.
[45] Joshua H. Ho, ‘The Security of Sealanes in Southeast Asia’, Asian Survey, vol. 46, iss. 4, 2006, pp. 558-574; Joshua H. Ho, ‘The Shifting Maritime Power and the Implications for Maritime Security in Southeast Asia’, CSIS, American-Pacific Sea-lanes Security Conference Paper on Maritime Security in Asia, Hawaii, 18-20 January 2004.
[46] ‘Navy Seizes Explosives Haul’, The Australian, 18 June 2008.
[47] Ian Storey, ‘The Triborder Sea Area: Maritime Southeast Asia’s Ungoverned Space’, Terrorism Monitor, (The Jamestown Foundation), vol. 5, iss.1 9, 11 October 2007, pp. 1-4.
[48] Gross tonnage or gross registered tonnage (GRT) refers to the internal volume of a ship and to its cargo capacity, and is a standard means of determining the size of a vessel.
[49] IMO, Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems, SN/Circ.201/Corr.1 , Ref. T2/2.07, 2 September 1998; Mandatory Ship Reporting System in the Straits Of Malacca and Singapore-Straitrep, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Port Marine Circular No. 65, 20 October 1998.
[50] Marine Department of Malaysia (MDM), ‘Mandatory Ship Reporting System in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore’, 2007.
[51] Ho, ‘The Security of Sea Lanes’.
[52] Charts are ‘maps’ of the sea, revealing seabed territory, obstacles, navigational aids and outstanding coastal and sub-surface features such as hydrographical soundings.
[53] ‘Who Owns the Malacca Strait’, The Jakarta Post, 28 August 2007.
[54] Donald Urquart, ‘Shipping tonnage, container throughput and bunker sales did well says MPA’,Business Times (Singapore), 11 January 2007.
[55] J.N. Mak, ‘Unilateralism and Regionalism: Working Together and Alone in the Malacca Straits’, in Graham Gerard Ong-Webb, (ed.), Piracy, Maritime Terrorism and Securing the Malacca Straits, ISEAS Publishing, Singapore, ch. 8, 2006, pp. 134-62.
[56] ‘How low can we go’, Shiptalk.
[57] Osnin and Sheng, ‘Piratical Attacks’.
[58] Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Threats and Challenges to Maritime Security 2020, US Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, Washington DC, ch. 2, 1 March 1999.
[59] Johnson and Valencia, Piracy In Southeast Asia.; J.S. Burnett, Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas, Penguin, NY, (2002); Ong-Webb, Piracy, Maritime Terrorism.
[60] Frécon,The Resurgence of Sea Piracy.
[61] David Pearl, Worldwide Threat to Shipping, Office of Naval Intelligence, Civil Maritime Analysis Department, Washington DC, 8 August, 2007.
[62] Lloyd’s Market Association and International Underwriting Association of London, Joint War Committee, Hull War, Strikes, Terrorism and Related Perils Listed Areas, Lloyds, London, 20 June 2005; also included was the Sulu Archipelago, Indonesia and a number of other areas around the world.
[63] Ali M. Koknar, ‘Terror on the High Seas: Piracy and Terrorism are Joining Forces and Creating Troubled Waters for the Maritime Industry. (Transportation)’, Security Management, vol. 48, no. 6, June 2004, pp. 75-82.
[64] Burnett, Modern Piracy.
[65] Jim Garamone, ‘Piracy in Straits highlights Need for Maritime Security’, American Forces Press Service, Singapore, 5 June 2005.
[66] Michael Richardson, ‘Maintaining Security in Straits of Malacca and Singapore’, Jakarta Post, 11 January 2006.
[67] Graham G. Ong and Joshua Ho, Maritime Air Patrols: The New Weapon against Maritime Piracy in the Malacca and Singapore Straits, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 13 October 2005.
[68] ‘Malaysia to help patrol Strait of Malacca’, The China Post, 23 March 2006.
[69] Robert Wohlschlegel, Curtis W. Turner, and Kent Butts, ‘Maritime Threats Workshop’, Issue Paper, US Army Pacific’s: Defense Environmental and International Cooperation (DEIC) Workshop, Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College, vol. 09-04, October 2004.
[70] Drug Control: US Interdiction Efforts in the Caribbean Decline, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice, Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, House of Representatives, GAO/NSIAD-96-119, 104th Congress, 2nd Session, 17 April 1996, p. 12; US Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, and Office of Naval Intelligence, ‘The Future of Maritime Activities’, in Threats and Challenges to Maritime Security 2020,ch. 3, sect. 3, March 1999; Coast Guard Drug Removal Statistics (in pounds), Office of Law Enforcement, (CG-531), 2006-2010.
[71] ‘JCC Cargo Watchlist - version 18’, Exclusive Analysis, (London), 16 June 2006.
[72] ‘Lloyd’s Should Drop Strait of Malacca from War-risk List’, National News Agency, 19 June 2006.
[73] ‘Strait of Malacca : Malaysian Admiral Questions Terror Risk’, Adnkronos International, 4 July 2006.
[74] Hugo Grotius, The Freedom of the Seas, or the Right Which Belongs to the Dutch to take part in the East Indian Trade, Translated by Ralph Van Deman Magoffin, James Brown Scott, (ed.), NY, Oxford University Press, 1916, p. 14a.
[75] IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships: Regional Co-Operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, MSC 83/19/2, Maritime Safety Committee, 83rd Session, Agenda item 19, 27 July 2007.
[76] John M. Collins, ‘Natural Resources and Raw Materials’, in Military Geography for Professionals and the Public, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University Press, Washington DC, ch. 8, 1998.
[77] ‘Planning National Strategies–Marine Interests at Stake; Guarding Malacca Strait Crucial,’ Yomiuri Shimbun, (Tokyo), June 10, 2006.
[78] Yomiuri Shimbun, ‘Planning National Strategies - Marine interests at stake / Guarding Malacca Strait crucial’, Daily Yomiuri, 10 June 2006; Mineral Resources and Petroleum Products Statistics (preliminary report: July 2007), Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ENECHO), Government of Japan, August 2007.
[79] D. Quijano, Ilang-Ilang, ‘Japan to aid ASEAN in securing sea-lanes’, ABS-CBN News, 12 January 2007.
[80] ‘Japan breaks new taboo with arms export to Indonesia’, Joyo Indonesia News Service, 13 June 2006.
[81] ‘World Oil Chokepoints, Malacca’, Country Analysis Briefs, US Energy Information Administration, February 2011.
[82] Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Straits, Passages and Chokepoints; a Maritime Geostrategy of Petroleum Distribution, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 2004.
[83] ‘China’s Oil demand to rise 6% in 2006: Report’, China Daily, 1 December 2005.
[84] Zubir Mokhzani and Mohd Nizam Basiron, ‘The Strait of Malacca: the Rise of China, America’s Intentions and the Dilemma of the Littoral States’, Maritime Studies, iss. 141, March-April 2005, pp. 24-26.
[85] ‘Deng puts Forward New 12-Character Guiding Principle for Internal and Foreign Policies’, ChingPao , no. 172, 5 November 1991, pp. 84-86, (in) US Department of Defense, ‘Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2006’, Section 1202, Annual Report on Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, Public Law 106-65, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2006;
86 ‘India, Pak Coast Guard Chiefs Discuss Maritime Cooperation’, The Times of India, 9 August 2007.
[87] ‘Indonesia India Relations’, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in New Delhi, 28 March 2007; ‘RI, India to conduct joint patrol in Andaman Sea’, Antara News, 22 August 2007.
[88] Jason Jackson, The Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Risk of Economic Polarisation, (draft working paper), University of West Indies (UWI) Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) Conference, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, 31 March-2 April 2004.
[89] ‘Backgrounder: Association of Southeast Asian Nations’, People’s Daily, 23 October 2009.
[90] John F. Bradford, ‘The Growing Prospects for Maritime Security Cooperation in Southeast Asia’, Naval War College Review, vol. 58, no. 3, Summer, 2005, pp. 63-86.
[91] Rosalina Mohamad, ‘Maritime Agency Stations Unit at PulauPisang’, The Star, 2 June 2008.
[92] ‘Indonesia, Malaysia Face Off at Sea’, Asia Sentinel, 29 May 2009.
[93] ‘Flag Officer’ refers to a naval officer whose seniority entitles them to have a personal flag flown aboard any vessel upon which they embark. It is a mark of rank, usually rear admiral and above.
[94] (Vice Admiral) Mateo Mayuga, The Coast Watch South Initiative: a Proposed Framework for Maritime Security Cooperation in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, International Maritime Security Symposium, 12-14 September 2006; ‘Navy chief as resource speaker in international maritime symposium’, Philippines Navy Press Release, 19 September 2006.
[95] Donna J. Nincic, ‘Sea Lane Security and US Maritime Trade: Chokepoints as Scarce Resources’, in Sam J. Tangredi, (ed.), Globalization and Maritime Power, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington DC, ch. 8, 2002, pp. 143-170.
[96] AmitavAcharya, Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and The Problem of Regional Order, London, Routledge, 2001, p. 130.
[97] ‘Singapore Navy receives its first frigate, RSS Formidable’, Channel News Asia, 5 May 2007.
[98] (Captain) Ang We Han, ‘The FPDA, A Singapore Perspective’, Pointer: Singapore Armed Forces Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 2, April-June 1998; CARAT Public Affairs, ‘Malaysian Navy takes on coast guard role during CARAT exercises’, 8 July 2001; ‘Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)’, Global Security, Virginia, 2011.
[99] ‘Manila, US War Games Deal with Maritime Threats’, Joyo News, 19 February 2007.
[100] GerTeitler, Piracy in Southeast Asia: A Historical Comparison, University of Amsterdam and the Royal Netherlands Naval College, 2002.
[101] ‘RI, US hold Joint Military Exercise’, Antara News, 6 August 2007.
[102] Mariana O’Leary, Mellon’s Far Side of the World patrol, United States Coast Guard, US Department of Homeland Security, August 2004, p. 20.
[103] International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships; Annual Report, 1 January-31 December 2006.
[104] IMB, Annual Report.
[105] Ian Storey, ‘Securing Southeast Asia’s Sea Lanes: A Work in Progress’, Asia Policy, no. 6, July 2008, p. 95-128.
[106] The IMB-PRC issues daily status reports on piracy and armed robbery to ships via broadcasts on the Inmarsat-C SafetyNET service.
[107] ICC-CCS, ‘Optimism as Piracy Attacks Fall for Third Year in a Row’, ICC Commercial Crime Services, London, 22 January 2007.
[108] ‘Preamble’, Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 13th ASEAN Summit, Singapore, 20 November 2007.
[109] ‘Singapore holds its largest inter-agency maritime exercise’, Singapore News, 29 August 2006.
[110] RiefqiMuna, ‘Landscape of Regional Cooperation: Its Meaning for a Security Sector Reform Network in Asia’, Journal of Security Sector Management, University of Cranfield, UK, vol. 1, no. 3, December 2003, pp. 1-12.
[111] IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, Recommendations to Governments for Preventing and Suppressing Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, MSC/C.622/Rev. 1, Ref. T1/13.01, London, UK, 16 June 1999.; IMO, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, Guidance to Shipowners and Ship Operators, Shipmasters and Crews on Preventing and Suppressing acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, MSC/C 623/Rev. 3, Ref. T1/13.01, London, UK, 29 May 2002.
[112] IMO, MSC/C.622/Rev. 1, Ref. T1/13.01.
[113] ‘Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)’,Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore) Press Statement, 21 July 2006.
[114] ReCAAP was instigated by the Japanese Prime Minister in Oct. 2001, and finalized November 2004 in Tokyo–––About ReCAAP, ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, 2011.
[115] IMO Annual Report, 1 January-31 December 2006.
[116] T. Rajan, ‘Singapore to Open Anti-Piracy Coordination Centre’, The Straits Times, 23 November 2006.
[117] T. Rajan, ‘Multi-government effort to fight piracy takes off’, The Straits Times, 22 June 2006.
[118] ‘IMO plans data pool for Horn’, Fairplay: International Shipping Weekly, 18 January 2007.
[119] ‘RI, Singapore and Malaysia to build Strait of Malacca Patrol Information System’, Antara News, 16 November 2006.
[120] (Admiral) Jorge Omar Godoy, United States Naval Institute. Proceedings, ‘The Commander’s Response’, vol. 135, no. 3, March 2009, pp. 14-33.
[121] Proceedings, ‘Response’.
[122] Stefan Eklöf, ‘Piracy in Southeast Asia: Real Menace or Red Herring?: Counting Piracy’, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 5 August 2005.
[123] Arild Wegener, ‘Piracy in the Strait of Malacca’, SKULD Report, Norwegian Ship Owners Association, 28 February 2005.
[124] ICC-CCS, ‘Optimism as Piracy Attacks Fall’.
[125] ICC-CCS, ‘Global piracy decreasing but hotspots remain deadly’, Piracy Report, London 31 October 2006.
[126] ICC-CCS, ‘Optimism as Piracy Attacks Fall’.
[127] RECAAP Information Sharing Centre, Adding Value, Charting Trends: Annual Research Report 2007, Singapore, 2007, pp. 18-23.
[128] IMB AnnualReport, 2005.
[129] RECAAP, Annual Report, 2007, p.23.
[130] Regional Conference on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, Tokyo, April 2000;
.. ASEAN, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, 2001.
[131] IMO, Guidance Relating to the Implementation of SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code, MSC/Circ. 1132, Ref. T2-MSS/2.11.1, Annex, 14 December 2004.
[132] Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Resolution: 2nd Meeting Head of Coast Guard Agencies Asia, (adopted on the 22nd Mar 2006); Yoichiro Sato, Southeast Asian Receptiveness to Japanese Maritime Security Cooperation, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, September 2007; CSCAP Study Group on Facilitating Maritime Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific-Meeting on the Roles of Maritime Security Forces, 5 April 2007.
[133] ‘Coast Guard’ here refers to water police, coast guard and other marine authorities within Southeast Asia, although they have various titles, eg: in Malaysia’s coast guard is the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
[134] UNCLOS, Article 43, ‘Agreement Relating to the Implementation of part XI of the Convention’.
[135] ‘RI Navy Intensifies Patrol in Waters Bordering with S’pore’, Antara News, 24 February 2007.
[136] Jamaludin Kassim, in Burnett, Dangerous Waters, pp. 162-3.
[137] Burnett, Dangerous Waters, p. 163.
[138] JCC Cargo Watchlist.
[139] ‘Pirates May Resume Kidnappings in Strait of Malaccas, Bureau Says’, Jakarta Post, 13 July 2006.
[140] ICC Piracy Report, ‘Hijacked Tanker Recovered’, Kuala Lumpur 25 December 2005.
[141] IMB, Piracy and Armed Robbery Q3 2006, 2006.
[142] IMB, Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships: Report for the Period 1 January-30 September. Piracy Prone Areas and Warnings, Southeast Asia and Indian Sub-Continent, Essex, UK, 2006, p. 15.
[143] David A. Lake and Patrick M. Morgan, (eds),Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World, University Press, 1997, pp. 3-44.
[144] John F. Murphy, The United States and the Rule of Law in International Affairs, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2004, p. 4, pp. 240-245.
[145] Thomas B. Fargo, Regional Maritime Security Initiative, US Pacific Command MILOPS, Victoria, British Columbia, Military Operations and Law Conference, 3 May 2004; US Government, Testimony of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, United States Navy Commander US Pacific Command before the House Armed Services Committee US House of Representatives regarding US Pacific Command Posture, 108th Congress, 2nd Session, 31 March 2004.
[146] US Government, Testimony of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo.
[147] Fargo, Regional Maritime Security Initiative.
[148] Fargo, Regional Maritime Security Initiative.
[149] Vijay Sakhuja, ‘Who Will Safeguard the Malacca Straits?’ Observer Research Foundation Strategic Trends, vol. II, issue 30, 2 August 2004; Fargo, Regional Maritime Security Initiative. PSI, SIPS and the ISPS Code referred to more fully in more detail in chapter 6.
[150] Sakhuja, ‘Who Will Safeguard the Malacca Straits?’
[151] SudhaRamachandran, ‘Divisions over terror threat in Malacca Straits’, Asia Times Online, 16 June 2004.
[152] Yoichiro Sato, ‘Strait of Malacca’s Security Reflects Hazy Dividing Line’, Pacific Forum CSIS, Asia Times Online, 14 July 2004; Yoichiro Sato, ‘U.S. and Japan in the Malacca Strait: Lending Hands, Not Stepping In’, Pacific Forum CSIS, PacNet, no. 29A, Honolulu, Hawaii July 12, 2004.
[153] Damon Bristow, ‘The Five-Power Defence Arrangements: Southeast Asia’s unknown Regional Security Organization’, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 27, no. 1, 2005, pp. 1-20.
[154] Bristow, p. 11; Ralf Emmers, ‘The Role of the Five Power Defence Arrangements in the Southeast Asian Security Architecture’, RSIS Working Paper, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, no. 5, 20 April 2010, pp. 1-22.
[155] Indonesia has called for the FPDA to be disbanded but as Emmers, 20 April 2010, argues, Indonesian military leaders generally accept the benefits of FPDA military exercises.
[156] Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Batam Joint Statement of the 4th Tripartite Ministerial Meeting of the Littoral States on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, Batam, Indonesia, 1-2 August 2005.
[157] TNI-N Indonesian Navy, ‘The Role of Indonesia to Secure the Strait of Malacca’ (Power Point), Assistant Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy for Planning and Budgeting, MILOPS Conference, Thailand, 17-19 July 2006.
[158] IMB, Annual Report, 01 January-31 December, 2005.
[159] ‘China offers help in securing Straits of Malacca and Singapore, Indonesian Defence Minister says’, The China Post, 2 August 2005.
[160] ICC-CCS, Piracy Report, ‘Q32006’ ‘3rd Quarter, 2006.
[161] ‘TNI soldier arrested for Straits of Malacca and Singapore piracy’, Jakarta Post, 4 January 2006.
[162] ‘Pirates May Resume Kidnappings in Strait of Malacca’s, Bureau Says’, Jakarta Post, 13 July 2006.
[163] ‘Security cooperation leads to piracy drop in Strait of Malacca : Indonesia’, Jakarta Post, 26 June 2006.
[164] ‘Indonesia, South Korea To Beef Up Defense Ties’, People’s Daily, 23 January 2006.
[165] ‘RI to buy warships, subs from Russia, Germany’, Jakarta Post, 5 January 2006.
[166] ‘Indonesian leader to visit Russia for Arms Deal’, People’s Daily, 19 January 2006.
[167] David Saw, ‘Naval Developments in 2004–Matters Start to Become Interesting’, Asian Military Review, iss. 8 December-January, 2004, pp. 4-11.
[168] Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency; its indigenous title is: Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM).
[169] Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), ‘Background’, Prime Minister’s Department.
[170] Marine Operations Force; its indigenous title is, Pasukan Gerakan Marin.
[171] ‘Force does more than just nab illegals’, New Straits Times, 21 April 2009.
[172] ‘Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Act 2004’, Laws of Malaysia, Act 633, Commissioner of Law Revision, Malaysia, part1, 2006, pp. 1-17.
[173] Full title since 1993 is, Seri Paduk aBaginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
[174] Sharon Ling, ‘Maritime Agency to have Own Air Unit’, The Star-Online, 16 June 2008.
[175] David Dizon, ‘Drug Cartels Exploiting Weak Border Patrols, Port Security’, ABS-CBN News, 6 June 2008.
[176] Referring to USCG, IMO and IMB representatives.
[177] (Vice Admiral) Dato Mohammad Bin Nik, Welcoming Notes from Director General of MMEA, 2nd Meeeting Head of Coast Guard Agencies Asia, Putrajaya, Malaysia, 20-23 March 2006.
[178] ‘Coastguards adopts Amarsective 2004’, Southchinasea News, 28 June 2004.
[179] Nik, Welcoming Notes.
[180] ‘APMM Assures Security In Melaka Strait-Najib’, Bernama, 21 March 2006.
[181] MMEA, ‘Practical Measures in Combatting Piracy and Robbery at Sea-MMEA Perspective’, 20-23 March 2006.
[182] Nik, Welcoming Notes.
[183] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, London, Verso, 1983.
[184] Indonesian Navy – Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut, (TNI-AL).
[185] ‘Indonesia fired ‘indiscriminately’ at boat, asylum seeker claims’, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 November 2009.
[186] ‘Indonesian Navy plans fleet expansion’, ABC News, 12 February 2005.
[187] ‘Indonesia Still Needs Another 262 Warships’, Antara News, 17-18 September 2007.
[188] Grotius, Mare Liberum, p. 11a.
[189] UNCLOS, Articles 52, 53, ‘Right of Innocent Passage’.
[190] Shangri-La Dialogue: regular meetings since 2001, and held at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore since 2002, of minister-level Defence and Security Officials representing Pacific Ring and Asian countries. Participating countries have included: Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
[191] Xu Ke, ‘The Indonesian New Maritime Security Proposal’, Maritime Monitor, vol. 1, iss. 3, 2007, pp. 13-14.
[192] Jakarta Post, ‘Malacca Strait’.
[193] Jakarta Post, ‘Malacca Strait’.
[194] Office of Naval Intelligence , Civil Maritime Analysis Department, Worldwide Threat To Shipping Mariner Warning Information, 26 December 2007.
[195] ONI, Worldwide Threat, 23 January 2008.
[196] Statement issued by the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at its Thirteenth Special Meeting, 4-5 Apr 2008, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.
[197] ‘Singapore, KL, Jakarta Sign Anti-Piracy Pact’, Straits Times, 22 April 2006.
[198] Achataya Chuenniran, ‘Malacca Patrols Start October 1’, Bangkok Post 22 August 2008.
[199] Joyo Indonesia News Service, ‘Malacca Strait much safer from Pirates - Malaysia’, 15 December 2006.
[200] Joyo, ‘Malacca Strait much safer’.
[201] David Pearl, (ed.), ‘Worldwide Threat to Shipping’, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), 18 April 2007.
[202] ‘Inaugural Malacca Strait Patrols Information Sharing Exercise’ MINDEF News Release, Singapore Ministry of Defence, 28 March 2008.
[203] ‘Pirates on the Run’, Straits Times, 19 May 2009.

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