Wednesday, March 16, 2005

VOA on Resurgent Pirates in the Malacca Strait

The Voice of America has a go at the modern pirates of Malaccahere.
“The Malacca Strait is the busiest strait in the world. Something like 50-thousand ships a year travel through it,” says Dana Robert Dillon, a South Asia analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a research organization in Washington, says piracy can be linked to corrupt governments and is most prevalent in the waters of South Asia.

“On the edges of the Malacca Strait, especially the southeastern edge is Indonesia, which is rated as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia,  the rule of law is extremely weak.  They have just gone through a long democratic transition, which was successful, but the rule of law is weak.” 

Mr. Dillon says in addition to robbing merchant vessels of their cargo, pirates commonly abduct members of the crew for ransom. He says most of the pirates in the Malacca Strait are Indonesian.

“Some of them may be the terrorists from the Free Aceh movement.  Some of them are just fishermen.  Some of them are just robbers, plain old fashioned robbers. A lot of the piracy that takes place actually is just kidnapping.  They stop the ship and kidnap the crew and hold them ransom until the company that owns the boat pays the ransom.  Some of it is real piracy and a small portion is actual terrorism.”

Indonesia’s Free Aceh separatist group, also known as GAM, is based on the northern tip of the Sumatra Island. Insurgents seeking independence often attack ships to put political pressure on the Indonesian government, or to make money to fund the movement.  But the International Maritime Bureau reports pirates sometimes blame separatists for their own attacks. 


Update: Welcome Mudville readers! If you are interested in pirates and terrorism and the wonderful world of sea lines of communication, here are some other posts you might enjoy: Recent pirate attacks:

Terrorism at sea: Terror
Response to Terror,
Singapore defense,
Islamic terrorists,
Singapore proactive,Sea going terrorism,
al Qaeda and ship attacks,
ONI threat report,
asymmetic warfare,
worrisome pattern

Sea Lanes:

Happy reading, matey!

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