Modern Piracy Near Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Strait of Malacca

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Although pirate attacks in Somalia and other high-risk waters off the Horn of Africa get a lot of press, the waters near Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have long posed a threat for modern shipping vessels and their crews. Because it is such a major shipping route for a variety of goods, it’s an attractive area for pirates and organized crime, and the local terrain and poor economy contribute to the difficulty of enforcement.

What Are the Pirates in These Areas After?

Pirate attacks often focus on the cargo of tankers and shipping vessels, and it is also common for crews to be robbed of personal possessions or for ships to be hijacked. Some pirates have taken crewmembers hostage in these attacks, and attackers are often armed and organized during these incidents. 

Why Haven’t Anti-Piracy Measures in the Malacca Strait Been More Effective?

While enforcement by navies in the Malacca Strait have been effective to some degree, poor enforcement in nearby areas has meant that many pirates have simply shifted their main areas of operation to other areas near the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Additionally, navies patrolling in larger ships are sometimes unable to reach pirates operating out of the area’s shallow waters, groves, and isolated islands in smaller, faster ships.

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