Combatting Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Southeast Asia: The Way Forward
According to the Annual Reports of the International Maritime Bureau on Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships for calendar years 1998, 1999, and 2000, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters in Southeast Asia, especially in the Malacca Strait and in Indonesian waters. Very few of the incidents in Southeast Asia are "piracy" as defined in international law because they took place in waters under the sovereignty of a coastal state. Nevertheless, many of the incidents posed serious threats to the safety of international maritime navigation. Some were offences under the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Acts Against the Safety of International Maritime Navigation. Some were also major criminal hijacks involving international organized crime. There has been considerable action at both the global and regional levels to attempt to deal with this threat to the safety of international navigation. This article analyzes the reported incidents and the attempts by the international community to deal with the problem. The article concludes with various recommendations on steps that should be taken by the international community and States in Southeast Asia to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships.