Policies and initiatives against piracy and terrorism
"At the International Level, all states –strong and weak, big and small –need a frame work of fair rules which each can be confident that the others will obey. Fortunately, such a frame work exists. From trade to terrorism, from the law of the sea to weapons of mass destruction, States have created an impressive body of norms and laws. This is one of our organisation's proudest achievements". UN Secretary –General Kofi Annan
1. Good Order at Sea.
The necessity to maintain the good order at sea can hardly be over emphasised especially in the context of economic globalisation and increasing interdependence among nations.Disruption of the good order at sea would entail interruption into the maritime pursuits of nations; hinder exploitations of resources and critically effect global trade and commerce. The spectrum of good order at sea is depicted below in the diagram along with the involved threats.
2. In order to maintain the good order at sea, various responses have been initiated by the international community and the world-wide navies. A resolution calling for review of the existing international legal and technical measures and procedures to prevent acts of terrorism that threaten the security of ships at sea and ports was also adopted. The corner stone of the new strategy is that, the oceans are secure – and nations are safer and more prosperous not when the seas are controlled by one nation, but rather when they are made safe and free for all.
3. The security initiatives that are in place against piracy and organised maritime crime are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs. Initially the International Initiatives are deliberated; later the Multilateral, Bilateral and Independent Initiatives of SE Asian region have been explained.
4. CTF 151.
The Coalition Task Force 151 under the United States Fifth Fleet headquarters in Manama, Bahrain was established in Jan 09 with a clear mandate to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden. It comprises countries engaged in the Coalition Maritime Force (CMF) in the North Arabian Sea region and includes Germany, UK, Turkey, Pakistan and others.
5. Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA).
The US Navy Central Command (CENTCOM) established a 560 nm long security corridor or MSPA in the Gulf of Aden on 22 Aug 08. This area is currently patrolled by the coalition forces including ships and aircraft. The MSPA have been widely supported by the shipping community and various organizations such as the IMO and IMB.
6. Operation 'Ocean Shield' by NATO.
A Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) has been deployed in the region to allow World Food Organisation to fulfil its mission of providing humanitarian aid to Somalia under the UN World Food Programme. The operation has been codenamed 'Ocean Shield'. The SNMG comprises about seven ships from Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, UK, USA and Spain.
7. W estern P acific N aval S ymposium (WPNS).
The WPNs was created in 1988 and brings together 18 countries with India as one of the observers and administrator as US PACOM (Pacific Command). It is a forum to discuss, and to generate information and opinion among naval professionals on the maritime issues both global and regional.
8. Operation 'Atlanta'.
A convoy escort system code-named Operation 'Atlanta' is being maintained by nearly 14 ships of the 27 nation under European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) under the leadership of Rear Admiral Philip. The convoys are routed in the area North of Somalia with protection teams placed onboard EU ships. Other ships are also permitted to join in the convoy with free protection being offered. The EU has now decided to extend the ongoing Op 'Atlanta' up to Dec 2010.
9. UN Resolution 1816/ 2008.
In Jun 08 the UN Security Council passed a resolution to give foreign warships the right to enter Somali waters for the purposes of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea by all necessary means. However, entry into Somali water is permitted with the consent of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (STFG).
10. International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS).
The ISPS code was brought into force on July 1, 2004. The aim of the new security code was to reduce risks to passengers, crews and port personnel on board ships and in port areas as well as to vessels and their cargoes. The emphasis is on the need to increase ship and port security and prevent shipping from becoming a target of international terrorism. However, it has certain drawbacks as brought out by Erol Kahveci. "The implementation of the new ISPS code undermines fundamental rights of seafarers as well as increases their workload. Seafarers from Islamic countries seem to be negatively affected by the new security regime which potentially could limit the employment from those countries as there is no attraction in being treated like a potential terrorist. This, in turn, would exacerbate further shortage of seafarers in the global labour market."
Bilateral / Multilateral Initiatives of SE Asia
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises ten nations namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The ASEAN work programme adopted in Kuala Lumpur in 2002 included an agreement to cooperate in eliminating piracy in the SE Asian region. The work programme includes information sharing, training efforts and to seek technical and financial assistance from dialogue partners, relevant UN Bodies and other organisations.
The ASEAN regional Forum currently comprises 24 countries. The ARF adopted the 'Statement on Cooperation against Piracy and other Threats to Maritime Security' at the 10th ARF Post-Ministerial Conference held in Cambodia in June 2003.In this document , ARF participants regard maritime security as "an indispensible and fundamental condition for the welfare and economic security of the ARF Region".
13. Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia ( ReCAAP).
As per the ReCAAP, the sixteen member states have agreed to setup an Information Sharing Centre (ISC) in Singapore. It is the first time that governments in East, Southeast and South Asia have institutionalised their cooperation in combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in the form of a permanent body with full time staff.
14. Eyes in the Sky Initiative.
The "Eyes in the Sky" (EiS) initiative is a part of the Malacca Straits Security Accord (MSSA), launched in Sep 2005 at the behest of Malaysia. It is basically a radar network to provide a complete picture of the area.
15. Five Power Defence Agreement . The FPDA was founded in 1971 and brings together Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK in a consultative defence agreement. It calls for mutual consultations if any member state faces a security threat. Recently FPDA also agreed to expand the scope of its activities to include non-conventional threats like maritime terrorism.
SE Asian Regional Initiatives
16. Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrols.
Multinational naval patrols have been used effectively in the Strait of Malacca to curb piracy. The number of piracy attacks in Strait of Malacca declined from 38 in 2004 to virtually nil in 2008, due to the joint naval patrols conducted under Operation MALSINDO, launched by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in 2002.
The Indonesian navy is responding to the increasing piracy in its waters by promoting a package of reforms and modernising the Navy's ships to push towards a new emphasis on coastal interdiction and more patrols against illegal activities.Indonesia has also setup well equipped Navy control command centres called as PUSKODAL in Batam, and Belawan, emplacing special forces that can respond to armed hijackings and piracy.
18. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
Malaysia has also taken action to keep the piracy rates low in the Malacca and Singapore Straights. The Royal Malaysian navy has built a string of radar tracking stations along the straits of Malacca to monitor traffic and has acquired new patrol boats. Formation of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in the year 2005 , the equivalent of Coast Guard is providing more focus and enhanced the Malaysia's ability to deal with maritime related offenses.
19. Accompanying Sea Security Teams( ASSeT).
Singapore also implemented a range of measures to step up maritime security. It has formed the ASSeT, similar to armed marshals, to board selected merchant ships proceeding into and out of harbour to prevent the possibility of a ship being taken over by terrorists.
The governing concepts to maintain the good order at sea are built on cooperation rather than confrontation. With critical support at multiple international venues and by the navies across the globe, nations finally appear on the cusp of conducting effective maritime security collaboration and coordination.
Adopted from RS Vasan, Maritime Counter- Terrorism: An Indian Perspective, Chapter 7 of Compilation of Maritime Counter Terrorism A pan Asian Perspective, Edited by Swati Parashar, Published by Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt Ltd 2008, for Observer Research Foundation.
 Arabinda Acharya, Good Order at Sea, Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean region : Critical Issues in Debate, Edited by VR Raghavan , W Lawrence Prabhakar, Centre for Security Analysis, published by Tata Mc Graw-Hill, pp 151
 Adopted from Geoffrey Till, Sea Power: A guide for the Twenty First Century, London , Frank Cass 2004.
 Vijay sakhuja, Contemporary Piracy , Terrorism and Disorder at Sea: Challenges for Sea Lane Security in the Indian Ocean, Geo Political Orientations , regionalism and Security in the Indian Ocean, Edited by Dennis Rumsley Sanjay Chaturvedi, South Asian Publishers Pvt Ltd New Delhi.
Robert M Gates, National Defence Strategy , 16 Jun 2008, Available at <http://www.defenselink.mil/news/2008 %20National%20Defense%20Strategy.pdf>
 ICC-IMB Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships Report-Annual Report 2008.
 Erol Kahveci, Maritime Security Code Three Years on , 'the Sea sep/oct 07' Column, published by Seafarers' International Research Centre (SIRC), US.
 Joshua H Ho , The Security of Sea Lanes in Southeast Asia, Asian Survey Jounal, Vol XIVI , No4 July/August 2006 pp569.
 The Tenth ASEAN Regional Forum , ARF Statement on Cooperation against Piracy and Other Threats to Maritime Security ( Jakarta: ARF Unit of ASEAN Secretariat, June 17 ,2003)
 Fact Sheet on the "Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia" Singapore , Ministry of Transport, April 20, 2006.
 Cdr Shishir Upadhyaya, The Strait of Malacca: Maritime Terrorism and Security Challenges, Journal of the United Services Institution of India Vol CXXXVI, no 566 Oct-Dec 2006.
 Opcit Joshua H Ho , pp573.
 Robert KArniiol , " Indonesian Navy to Focus on Coastal interdiction" , Jane's Defence Weekly , November 12, 2003.
 Admiral Bernard Kent Sondakh, " National Sovereignty and Security in the Straits of Malacca" paper delivered at the conference on " The Straits of Malacca : Building a Comprehensive Security Environment " Maritime Institute of Malaysia , Kualalampur, October 11-13 2004 pp8-10.
 Opcit Joshua H Ho pp566.
 Nick Brown , " Malaysia Asks for Help to Fight Piracy", Jane's Navy International , Janes information Group , November 1, 2003.
 Iskandar Sazlan, " Counter Maritime Terrorism", pp13.
 Goh Chin Lian , " Armed Navy Escorts for Suspect Ships" Straits Times ( Singapore), Feb 2005.
 James Kraska and Brain Wilson, The Cooperative Strategy and the Pirates of the Gulf of Aden, he RUSI Journal Apr2009, Vol 154 No2 pp74-81.
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