Page 60

Cyber Security Maritime

Piracy is only beaten but not defeated

A By J Prakash Singapore correspondent

nagging reluctance to embarrass one another for fear of softening the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) solidarity, poor economic growth and the lack of job opportunities appears to be contributing to a rise in pirate attacks in the seas and waters surrounding eastern Indonesia. But the problem could actually be larger. Not only is there the question of fading economic opportunities but lax enforcement of security measures is perceptibly feeding a scourge that has the potential to scale to what was seen a decade ago when Indonesia, according to an International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report finished second only to Nigeria and whose waters and seas around it were deemed too dangerous a place for ships and ship owners. On 20 Feb 17, the ReCAAP ISC, a multi-lateral information sharing body operating out of Singapore received report from their Vietnamese counterparts about an abduction incident that occurred on a Vietnam-registered ship, Giang Hai. The bulk carrier was sailing from Indonesia to IIoilo Port, Philippines when an unidentified number of pirates boarded the ship and abducted its six crew members and fatally shot one. The pirates destroyed navigation and communication equipment before escaping. The ship then headed to Taganak anchorage area, Tawi Tawi, Philippines and underwent investigations conducted by the Philippine authorities. Such incidents remain standard fare in South East Asia where ships are either boarded by pirates or robbed of their possessions, or in extreme cases such as the one that happened to Giang Hai of even having its crew maimed or even sometimes killed. Since the de-escalation of piracy off the Gulf of Aden, an effacing new focal point is emerging unseen and possibly unnoticed by the rest of the global community. Even as it remains in the shadows of the vastly lucrative maritime

60 | Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine

trade criss-crossing the busy South China Sea shipping lanes, what has been especially worrying is the rising frequency of such attacks. The prospect of more of these raids can only but now mean an increase in insurance cargo premiums for the foreseeable future, and heightened security preparedness in the hire of security guards. Another prospect is the installation of security devices to stave off the increasingly, yet worrying tide of ship assaults and taking of hostages. Too Little Information and Too Little To Do Though the continued fall in piracy is good news outlines Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the International Maritime Bureau or IMB, ‘the kidnappings’, he adds with emphasis, ‘in the Sulu Sea between East Malaysia and the Philippines are a particular concern’. Speaking to APSM in a phone interview, Mukundan said the most encouraging news of all is that though pirate attacks across the western part and the hinterland of Indonesia have decreased, the nagging problem actually lies in the Sulu Sea. ‘The situation in the Sulu Seas is worrying’ he decries and that is only because of a very loose, diffusive, fragmented and informal system of where shipping and fishing overlap one another to present a very confusing and defying charade of hide and seek. There is, as he says, ‘a lot of fishing traffic’ in the region and that adds to the tide of confusion and clear-eyed analysis of what now is raising the ante in the Indonesian periphery of security operations. That leaves coast guard patrols in hot pursuit of pirates dead in their tracks with little or no chance of ever positively identifying or apprehending them. Because pirates disguise themselves as fishermen in the

Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine - Special Edition  
Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine - Special Edition  

This special introductory edition of the Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine has been compiled from current, as well as recent articles p...