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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Strait of Malacca Piracy: "Nooks and Crannies" make it "the most dangerous waters"

A look at the increases in sea robberies off the main path of the Malacca Strait, suggesting "alternative," theoretically safer, routes at Piracy in the Malacca Straits: Pirates likely to bring a quick end to historic trade route":
The number of attacks in the straits as a whole had dropped but it is the rising figures in Indonesia that has made the straits more dangerous than the waters off Somalia. Of the 138 piracy incidents recorded worldwide in the first six months of this year, 48 were in Indonesia. While global piracy had dropped substantially, down from 439 cases in 2011, the figures in Indonesia, however, was increasing. Most attacks happen in the waters around the Riau province, particularly around the ports in Dumai and Belawan.

New areas are emerging. One of them is around the island of Batam and nearby Belakang Island, which is close to Singapore. Batam is a low-cost manufacturing enclave and the products are exported via Singapore. Poor Indonesians who head for Batam for jobs and local fishermen battling with poor fishing yields are the prime targets of pirate mafias. The local mafias organise criminal activities alongside bigger syndicates.

These are low-level thefts in enclaves and areas that are hidden from the main route. They are not high-sea robberies that can be easily detected and crippled. Years ago, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore launched a campaign that aimed at curtailing piracy in the 960km long Malacca Straits. It has been successful in that the number of high-sea robberies has dropped and that the international shipping lane is much safer. But not the nooks and crannies.
Sorry, sounds like a solution in search of a problem. If Indonesia cleans up it own waters, this "problem" mostly goes away.

"Pirate mafias" attacking local workers and fishermen is not a reason to re-route large commercial shipping.

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