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The Resurgence of Sea Piracy in Southeast Asia

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Éric Frécon

Chapter 7. Delayed Reactions from Countries

Entrées d'index

Mots clés :

Asie du Sud-Est

Texte intégral

7.1. Obstacles Disappear, Countries Appear

  • 363 Garsenda Rossinyol, La Piraterie maritime, Doctoral thesis in Law, University of Nantes, 1996,. 32 (...)
  • 364 Reuters, “Asian Nations Meet on Urgent Piracy Problem”, 27th April 2000.
  • 365 Quoted by Olivier Weber and Marc Roche, “Le Retour des pirates”, Le Point, 8th August 1992; Reuter (...)

1In 1996, a legal expert concluded his doctoral thesis on maritime piracy with the “observation that a state of international apathy and inertia existed363”. This passiveness could be justified by the lack of means. For instance, it is difficult for Indonesia to check all the 17000 islands in its archipelago. During the conference held in Tokyo in spring 2000, the representative from Jakarta observed that his country lacked resources when compared to the enormity of its maritime space. In the same year, a Government official of the Department of Maritime Communication Routes revealed that only nine patrolling units were in charge of covering the entire archipelago364. In Singapore, on the contrary, the General Secretary of the Ship Owners Association referred to “the diminutive size” of his country365. In 1995, it comprised only twenty-six coast guard vessels.

  • 366 Solomon Kane, Laurent Passicousset, “Pirates”, Le Nouvel Afrique-Asie, no: 124, January 2000, p. 4 (...)

2In early 2000, Nouvel Afrique-Asie attributed the inefficiency of countries to the 1997 crisis and the subsequent reduction in defence budgets. For example, budgets allocated to the Royal Thai Navy decreased by 30% between 1997 and 1999366.

3From a legislative point of view, the 1999 United Nations report noted that some coastal countries were not in a position to tackle piracy due to the loopholes in their legal arsenal. The financial means also proved to be just as inadequate.

  • 367 Hélène Vissière, “Mer de Chine: Sur la route des pirates”, Le Point, no: 1419, 26th November 1999.
  • 368 Gilbert Rochu, “Les Pirates high-tech préfèrent les mers chaudes”, Marianne, 29th November 1999.

4The relative meekness of Governments can be explained by the lack of rigour on the part of the countries where most vessels are registered. In late 1999, the maritime group Seasia P & I pointed an accusing finger at Belize and the Honduras. It would be particularly easy to obtain a temporary flag here and then reproduce necessary documents to change the identity of hijacked ships367. How does one react to a lack of accuracy of maritime documents, flags of convenience, proliferation of free ports, automatic trans shipment of containers and secret banking368?

  • 369 David – Anthony Delavoet, 1995, p. 73.

5We have seen that the desire of countries to preserve their image hinders the anti-piracy war. The 1958 Geneva Convention specifies in article 14 that “all the Governments must cooperate as far as possible in order to suppress piracy on the high seas (….)”. For its part, the 1988 Rome Convention called for a legal cooperation in the field of maritime security. In general, combined initiatives nevertheless come up against diplomatic stakes that could easily hypothecate them. Hence, in 1995, it seemed doubtful that the neighbouring countries of Singapore were ready to significantly participate in the anti-piracy war. In fact, their initiatives were likely to benefit the island-nation exclusively at a time when regional relations were far from idyllic369.

  • 370 David – Anthony Delavoet, 1995, p. 76.

6For a long time, the attachment of countries to their sovereignty had blocked any prospects of cooperation. Fiercely guarding one’s territorial waters from any foreign invasion still appears to many as a priority, all the more so where western fleets are concerned. In the early 90’s, Great Britain had envisaged an action in the region. But faced with the risk of seeing the former giant colonial power meddling once again in the local affairs, Jakarta and Singapore preferred to rapidly conclude the germ of an agreement on a repression package that was signed on 6th July 1992370.

7Nevertheless, countries are more and more aware that piracy really undermines their sovereignty. Recently, a lot has been discussed, consulted and published on this matter.

  • 371 Jane’s Intelligence Review, November 1997, p. 9.

8More than the pirates themselves, it is what they lead to or result in, which attracts attention. For instance, in 1997, the Jane’s group attributed the fall in piracy to investments made by the various countries of the Asean371 in military equipments. But these purchases fuelled tensions in the region. In the Malacca Straits, various national navies equip themselves with radars and multiply their patrols, fuelling the anxiety of pirates as well as of the neighbouring countries.

7.2. Unilateral Initiatives of the Nations

7.2.1. Countries of Southeast Asia at a moment of awareness

In Malaysia

9Off the Penang Coast, in Malaysia, pirates dash across the waters. A few meters later, they suddenly vanish in a cloud of smoke. Impossible to seize them before their next crime. Arif is convinced about it; he has it from his cousin, a policeman, from the neighbouring naval base of Lumut to the West of the Peninsula. A local spirit, the puja, would often come to the rescue of the pirates. The policemen of Penang do not deny this. In this context, it is difficult to organise a fight…

  • 372 AP, “Pacific Nations Act on Piracy Menace”, The Manila Times, 28th April 2000.

10More prosaically, in spring 2000, in Tokyo, a Malaysian official of the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre (MECC), Noor Azman Bin HJ Othman, complained about the financial burden that the combat against piracy represented for his country372. The Malaysian government would be quite ready to fight against this menace, he assured, but the means were lacking.

11As a matter of fact, the topography of Malaysia offers several opportunities to pirates, in the Malacca Straits as well as off the coast of Sabah, not far from the Philippines and the Sulu archipelago. In 1996, 37 of the 46 incidents reported in the countries by the IMB took place between Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Tawau. Besides, it is quite probable that they were many more as the count was incomplete and taken too slowly. The incidents that affect Malaysian fishermen north of Langkawi Island, on the west coast, for example, are very rarely reported.

12However, given the socio-political instability of Indonesia, the territorial limits of Singapore and the Islamic situation in the Philippines, Malaysia seems to be better equipped for countering the pirate menace in the Malay Archipelago. Kuala Lumpur is aware of it. Proof of this is the hosting of meetings by the Malaysian capital following the one in Tokyo, and of the Conference of the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre on “national security against new challenges” (September 2000) or yet again the study on the ratification of the Rome Convention. From an institutional point of view, it is under the auspices of the National Security Division of the Prime Minister’s Department that the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre was created in 1985. Its objective was coordinating and ensuring the efficiency of the activities of the various bodies in charge of enforcement such as the Armed forces, the Police, the Fishing and Environment Departments, the Maritime customs, the Telecommunication and Immigration Departments. As for patrolling, the Navy and the Police share the task. The former is in charge of EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) the latter of the territorial waters. In spring 2002, there was even a question of bringing together the Navy, the Naval Police and the Customs Department under a single commanding authority, to coordinate their operations.

13In 1999, many incidents implicating Malaysian fishermen in the vicinity of Thailand encouraged the Malaysian authorities to launch aerial patrols in the north of the country (at Parit Jawa, not far from Johor) and to advise fishermen to sail in groups of ten boats. The same year in October, the police established a five hectare maritime base on Indah Island near Port Klang (in the neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur), and a similar base had already been established on Langkawi Island, further to the North. Today, their radar cover spreads from Tanjung Kemarung to Langkawi up to Bukit Pengerang (Johor), facilitating identification of vessels. These installations should help the Government to fight against illegal immigration as well as piracy.

  • 373 Interview with the author on 1st December 2000.
  • 374 “Commandos Stage Exercise to Combat Pirates”, The Star, 24th February 2001.

14During the Kuala Lumpur conference in November 2000, Malaysia offered to escort vessels between Port Klang and Johor Bahru. It had even launched the idea of setting afloat “trap boats” to bait the pirates. The project was however judged to be too ambitious. At the end of the year, however the Deputy Commissioner of Naval Police, Mohammed Muda rejoiced at the acquisition of two patrol boats entrusted with the task of supervising the western coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. On this occasion, the police officer called for a more “aggressive” approach in combating piracy373. These vessels were acquired for undertaking night patrols, between Malacca and Johor. Capable of travelling at fifty knots (nearly 90 km/hour), they ought to finally make it possible to fight against the pirates on equal terms. In February 2001, a new incident of the anti-piracy war took place. Bearing the code name “Ex Naga Emas 39”, it was the 39th manœuvre of this type since 1984374.

  • 375 Nik Imran Abdullah, “Marine Police Optimistic Getting RM56 Millions to Buy New Patrol Boats”, The (...)

15Day by day, like the French GSIGN (Special Intervention Group of National Police), Malaysia intensifies aerial and naval patrolling, and updates its equipment (satellite telephones, night vision binoculars). In 2002, Kuala Lumpur purchased Swedish patrol boats armed with 20 mm French cannons and it was learnt that fifteen new ships were going to be allotted to the naval police375.

  • 376 Hamdan Raja Abdullah, “Beef up Patrols along Malacca Straits”, The Star, 6th February 2002.

16However, it will be noted that the stepping up of vigil by the maritime authorities corresponds to other specifications. The fear of increased clandestine immigration from Sumatra would have probably mobilised Kuala Lumpur, rather than the risk of an oil spill in the Straits caused by pirate attacks or the repeated complaints of fishermen, vexed at having to bear the attacks376.

  • 377 ICC-IMB, January 2000, p. 20. Also refer “A Place Far from Perfect”, The Star, 22nd May 2000.

17In its islands, to the north of Borneo, the Malaysian police stepped up operations between 1990 and 1997. During this period, it killed 35 and arrested 51 pirates. Amongst the victims was Moloi Hijang, alias Moloi Uwh, a pirate nicknamed the “the king of the Philippines Seas”. Since then, the police affirmed having established an Eastern command, that is to say “a polyvalent group of police including the General Operational Force as well as the Naval police of Sabah377”.

  • 378 “Govt Willing to Negociate with Gunmen”, The Star, 28th April 2000.

18The capture of the hostages of Jolo, in April 2000, gave a fresh impetus to the anti-piracy war in Borneo. On this occasion, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed declared that the Royal Malaysian Navy had launched “a large patrol operation to prevent such incidents378”. In the beginning of October 2000, the Defence Minister even contemplated evacuating some islands and rehabilitating its inhabitants. After this, the authorities have sought to impose certain routes on the vessels of the region in order to identify suspicious boats more easily. To reinforce these initiatives, twenty-three patrol boats and a thousand men were stationed on thirteen islands and two bases along the Sabah coast in autumn. The patrol boats and roadblocks were so numerous that they caused traffic jams. Even then, piracy was not the only target. On 7th November, the Government of Sabah was asked to muster its security forces to counteract not only criminal acts but also illegal immigrants. And if shortly after the capture of the hostages of Palawan by the Abu Sayyaf group in May 2000, the patrols of Operation Pasir were deployed once again, it was only to avoid any movement of Muslim rebels to Sabah.

  • 379 Charlotte Venudran, “Commando Centre Begins to Take Shape in Mersing”, The New Straits Times, 14th(...)
  • 380 ICC-IMB, July 2000, p. 15.

19In the beginning of the year 2001, a commando centre whose construction has been estimated at 422 million Ringgits (120 million Euros) saw the light of the day near Mersing, on the East coast379. Today, the coasts of Borneo constitute the epicentre of the Malaysian Navy’s action. According to the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Raza, the potential of the Navy has to be strengthened in order to counter the pirate menace380.

20The capture of the Sipadan hostages and then another one that took place in the beginning of July 2000 by 27 members of the Al-Ma’unah group made the government aware of new types of armed civilian threats.

21In North Malaysia, Al-Ma’unah attacked two military bases in order to claim the setting up of an Islamic State. Today, officials voluntarily associate Islamic threats with the pirate danger; two reasons to develop more competent commando units.

BOARDING INCIDENT 13: PIRACY ACCORDING TO MAK JOON NUM
Mak Joon Num is a research director at the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA).
Who are the 21st century pirates?
“There are three types of piracy: the one that is committed by small gangs, piracy committed by organised crime syndicates and the one that is termed as “political”, the Abu Sayyaf group being a living example.
As a matter of fact, 90% of the pirates belong to small bands. They steal in Malaysia before returning to Indonesia. I don’t think that they have accomplices here. The reason is simple: It is not very lucrative for Malaysians to rob fishermen. Climbing aboard a vessel at night only to dive from a height of several meters to escape is very dangerous. However, Indonesians are more desperate; they consider piracy a more lucrative activity”.
How is the pirate menace to be considered?
“Statistically, it is not significant. If you compare the number of incidents to the number of vessels crossing the Straits (around 600 per day), the rate is around 0.01 %.
In reality, one should not attach importance only to piracy, but also to clandestine immigration. These two issues go together and have the same cause. They are connected to the surrounding poverty. If you are poor, you can become a pirate or a clandestine immigrant. Both originate from the same social background, often in the vicinity of Batam”
Would therefore piracy represent only one aspect of maritime crime?
“Yes, when connected to the social and economic context. Clandestine immigration is indeed our foremost concern.”
The number of acts of piracy recorded by the International Maritime Bureau in the Malacca Straits is however not insignificant …
“But the primary objective of the IMB and its regional office in Kuala Lumpur is to obtain finance from maritime companies. It is therefore in their own interest to be sure of the large numbers of acts of piracy.
“Let us remember the definition of the IMB [author’s note: which includes incidents perpetrated in the territorial waters] is only a private definition issued by a private organisation. Why should we acknowledge it? The only valid definition is that of the Montego Bay Convention [author’s note: which only takes into account attacks committed on the high seas].”
Does maritime terrorism also constitute a serious danger?
“The leaders of the GAM [Movement for the Independence of Aceh] cannot afford to be involved in maritime terrorism. Kuala Lumpur would soon increase patrolling. As Malaysia is their sanctuary; they do not want to endanger the communication links between Aceh and their bases.
“On the other hand, the United States fears suicide attacks on the seas. Theoretically, it is possible, even though such a thing has never happened as yet. You could indeed hijack a vessel with its cargo of liquefied gas. I think that Washington is taking this danger very seriously. Americans have increased some of their escorts in the sea and have demanded Malaysia’s assistance to this effect.”
What exactly is Malaysia’s role in the protection of the Malacca Straits?
“The capture of hostages in Sipadan in 2000 and the riots in Indonesian immigration camps have forced the Government to act. The Prime minister realised that it was no longer possible to tolerate this illegal immigration. Hence, the maritime patrolling has been intensified.
Is Malaysia satisfied with the steps taken?
“Yes, but I think that it should not be so. Asean considers piracy as a security issue, whereas it is above all a socio-economic problem. One must first treat the poverty of the people and try to eradicate it by means of development programmes.
“There is also the Indonesian problem. The Government of Jakarta no longer controls some parts of its territory. And when there is a weakness in the governance, corruption and a parallel economy flourish. Last year, the crew of an oil tanker hijacked its own vessel in the Malacca Straits. It was retraced thanks to the Shiploc satellite tracking system. But later, the Indonesian police claimed money to retrieve the vessel. In this context, who are the pirates? Wasn’t it the Indonesian Navy who demanded the money?…”
So, what are the possible solutions? An international naval police composed of “Blue helmets” under the aegis of the United Nations?
“Indonesia will not accept, neither will Malaysia owing to the sovereignty, the nationalism and the pride of the governments …
“Unfortunately there are no uniquely national or unilateral solutions. Co-operation is the need of the hour. But Indonesia will not permit anyone to enter its territory. It is too concerned about its sovereignty. However, we know where the pirates are….”
Are there Malaysian agents on the spot?
“Yes. If you pay suitably, people will speak…” (Interview with the author at Kuala Lumpur on 10thApril 2002)

In Indonesia

  • 381 IMO, 3-5th February 1999, annex 6, p. 2.
  • 382 Interview with the Director of the Malaysian Maritime Institute on 9th April 2002.

22Indonesia took a long time to react to the pirate phenomenon and generally one had to wait for months after an act of piracy was committed for it to be officially recorded381. Sometimes, Indonesian authorities even demanded money to intercept bandits in the Malacca Straits382.

23Since its creation in 1972, the Maritime Security Coordination Board is theoretically in charge of maritime crimes. It was created by a joint decree of the Ministries of Defence and Security, and of Finance and Justice. Its permanent members are the Ministers of Communication, Agriculture, the Attorney General, and the Head of the National Police. The temporary members are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Forests, Mines, Energy and Environment, as well as the President of the National Bureau of Rescue and Research (SAR). It is the SAR that is in charge of relaying information and warnings to the Head Quarters of the Indonesian Navy in order to envisage possible security operations.

  • 383 Arnaud Dubus and Nicolas Revise, 2002, p. 206.

24In 1999, when Abdurrahman Wahid came to power, a lot of attention was given to the Indonesian Navy, the President being anxious to re-assert the maritime identity of the country and mostly to counter the influence of the Army which had been very powerful during the era of President Suharto383. The Indonesian patrol boats were equipped with a new radar system, which enabled them to act more quickly. On 9th May 2000, Jakarta committed itself to setting up a special force with fifteen boats to combat piracy. Military exercises were organised in the Malacca Straits; it was even planned to establish centres at Batam (off Singapore Port) as well as in Medan and Bangka (in Sumatra) to follow up on the information furnished by vessels.

  • 384 Derwin Pereira, “Indonesian Navy Ships Not Fit to Fight”, The Straits Times, 3rd July 2002.

25Nevertheless, it seems that these means proved to be insufficient to tackle piracy. In July 2002, Admiral Bernard Sondakh painted a rather dismal picture of the Indonesian Navy under his command. Only 30% of the fleet was functional and only eight vessels were less than ten years old384.

26Since Megawati Sukarnoputri came to power in 2001, the attention of civilian and military authorities of the country has largely been mobilised by the inter-ethnic and interreligious conflicts dividing the archipelago, by the separatists’movements in Aceh (North of Sumatra) and in West Papua (ex-Irian Jaya).

  • 385 The operations were nevertheless organised under the general command of the naval communications o (...)
  • 386 IMB, “ICC Reports Sends 6 Warships into Battle against Pirates”, ICC News, 12th February 2002.

27In this context, it is virtually impossible to give any kind of priority to the anti-piracy war385, other than asking for substantial external aid. In March 2002, at Jakarta during a meeting to which experts from sixteen countries were invited, Indonesia clearly admitted the difficulty it faced in ensuring the safety of its waters. Immediately, Japan, United States and Netherlands offered equipment to the Indonesian Navy. A few months earlier, the IMB had already announced the dispatch of six vessels to reinforce the safety of the Malacca Straits386.

  • 387 IMB, “ICC Reports Sends 6 Warships into Battle against Pirates”, ICC News, 12th February 2002.
  • 388 Interview with the author, 26th March 2002.

BOARDING INCIDENT 14: “Mr. WONG” COMMANDER OF A PIRATE NETWORK
The Singaporean passport recovered from him identified him as Chew Chang Kiat. On 26th August 1999, “Mister Wong”, 56 years, was sentenced to six years of solitary confinement in Indonesia. He was accused of having supervised the disappearance of several vessels in the seas of Southeast Asia.
The arrest took place on 1st December 1999 in room 212 of Hotel 88, on Batam Island, much to the surprise of his companion, a hostess in one of the numerous bars of the island, where businessmen from Singapore come to slum it for one night for the price of a single beer in the shadow of the building.
In the free zone of Batam, the sidelined masses of the Asian boon swarm in the 40,000 illegal residences, according to a missionary who has been travelling in the Riau Archipelago for many years. The atmosphere, in this Indonesian Far East is heavy. The luxurious Novotel hotel jostles Tanjung Uma, a sordid village on piles, not far from Nagoya, formerly Lubuk Bajak (“the slouchy pirate”). From the top of the shaky passages, one cannot distinguish the murky waters from the fuel oil or the filthy slime. This mysterious island is close to exploding. The population has jumped from 38,000 inhabitants in 1980 to around 5,00,000 in 2002.
The interrogation of Mr Wong was conducted by Gusmakar Armabar (Security group of the Western Fleet of the Indonesian Navy), while his boat was anchored in the seas off the port of Batu Ampar. Two other Malaysian members of the crew, See Cheng Yen and Ng. Kong Siew were also interrogated.
Mr Wong operated from his boat, Pulau Mas, where everything was organised. On board, the Indonesian forces recovered material intended to capture and transform vessels into “phantom ships”; fifteen firearms; fourteen masks; three knives; paint and seals to falsify documents. According to Admiral Sumardi, the Pulau Mas would have been implicated in scores of disappearances, including those of the Atlanta, Suci, Petro Ranger, Pendopo and Plaju. Once the boat was captured, Mr Wong replaced the crew. As soon as the vessel entered international waters, his men informed him of the route through a mobile phone.
The business partners of Mr Wong are even more mysterious. The disappeared vessels as well as their merchandise were mostly sold in China. According to the IMB, the international network of Mr Wong could also extend right up to the Philippines, Johor Baru in Malaysia, as well as till Taipei in Taiwan. The network would be led by Ling Sau Pen387, a Hong Kong businessman.
After an attempt to escape and set fire to his prison, Mr Wong was transferred to the old reformatory prison establishment of Pekanbaru (Sumatra) to pay his sentence there. The conditions of detention are severe and the man nearing sixty is sick today. It is hard to believe one is in the presence of one of the most dreaded pirates identified to this day388.

In the Philippines

28The Philippines faces various types of difficulties. Political instability in the South is conducive to traffic of all kinds as well as to the development of grey areas. The geographical configuration is favourable to unlawfulness, since the Philippine Archipelago includes more than 7000 islands. Therefore, delinquent acts are difficult to be brought to book here and the importance of tradition as far as piracy is concerned is neither anecdotal nor exaggerated.

29Armed with this preliminary analysis, the Government of Manila has set up a penal legislation and solid though divided infrastructures. Others thus involved are the Coast guards, the Police, the Port Authorities, the Navy, the Immigration and Information Departments.

30The prerogatives overlap, thus reducing the efficiency of the structures, which seem quite heavy in the face of an adversary who is characterised by his vivacity. This is why the Government contemplated the creation of a special inter-department action team, and then a specialised cabinet for sea and ocean trade (Cabcom); the only risk being that finally, this structure only constitutes one more element in an edifice that is already difficult to manœuvre.

31South Philippines is a victim to many secessionist Muslim movements at the forefront of which are the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The country also has to face the abrupt emergence of Abu Sayyaf groups that security organisations agree to term as “specific threats”.

  • 389 “Sulu Ringed”, The Star, 28th April 2000.
  • 390 “Repelling the Pirates”, Jane’s International Police Review, 5th January 2000.

32Following the capture of the hostages of Jolo, the military command of the Southern zone affirmed, on 28th April 2000, that a special unit called Task Force Sultan had been set up in order to make Sulu safe389. As a matter of fact, in January 2000, Jane’s International Police Review already observed an improvement in the safety of the Philippine seas. It is worth mentioning here that the Navy would have deployed thirty recently acquired coastal patrol boats390, between 1995 and 2000. The purchase of thirty new vessels of the same type and several specialised aircraft was announced in October 2000. Due to these measures, the Task Group SeaHawk, also set up by the Navy, following the resumption of activities by Abu Sayyaf, could rely on the four new vessels and an aerial support the following summer. Simultaneously, Manila tried to adapt its legislative arsenal. A law mooted by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago would include piracy in terrorist threats and this would facilitate investigations.

33Manila’s interest in piracy and the link that the Philippine Government would like to establish between the “pirate menace” and “Islamic separatism” is naturally not devoid of ulterior motives. It is partially a matter of diabolising the minorities in the South, who are all the more easy to blame as they are mistrusted by the United States which considers them, rightfully or otherwise, as a favourable breeding ground for terrorism.

In Singapore

34During the international seminar organised by the IMO in 1999, the Singapore authorities, as their country is situated along the coast of the Malacca Straits – and hence not coastal to international waters or to the high seas-, did not wish to consider the incidents reported along the coasts as acts of piracy. We have mentioned that this statement is legally justifiable. But whether it is piracy or armed robbery at sea, the city – state however strove to size up the problem.

35The means at Singapore’s disposal appear to be consequential, given the extent of the zone that it has to watch over. Two bodies keep track of piracy. The Coast – Guard is responsible for security in the territorial waters. Hence, in 2000, it comprised a force of around a thousand men and 106 patrol boats. However, the main job of the Coast – Guards is to fight against illegal immigration. As for the Navy, it helps the Customs Department and the Police officers in what it considers as armed robbery at sea.

  • 391 “Sea Lanes Safe, Thanks to Navy, Coast Guard”, The Straits Times, 28th September 2000.

36On 28th September 2000, in Singapore, the Defence Minister Tony Tan and the Minister of Internal Affairs Wong Kan Seng, rejoiced at the efficiency of the collaboration between their Departments. During a visit to the Kallang Head Quarters, they called for greater cooperation amongst the countries in the region and acknowledged the necessity of acquiring faster boats and a more sophisticated surveillance system391.

In Thailand

  • 392 Arnaud Dubus and Nicolas Revise, 2002, p. 211.

37In the Kingdom, a Marine Enforcement Coordination Centre works in close collaboration with the National Navy and Port authorities. Like Malaysia, it acts under the control of the National Security Council, created in 1959, to counter what was then called the “communist threat392”.

  • 393 Vu Kim Chung, 16th November 1999.

38In 1990, Thailand had set up a special force to fight against piracy on the river Chao Phraya. It comprised Customs officers, Naval policemen, and the Central Intelligence Department. Since then, the authorities have been more ambitious. A military exercise involving the air force and the Navy was held in late November 1999 to reinforce the vigil against maritime crime and to facilitate communication between the Air Force and the Navy393. A major difficulty encountered here once again was the number of incidents and the time lag for recording them.

  • 394 Harish Mehta, “Thailand Revives Delayed Kra Canal Project Again”, Business Times, 22nd June 2001 a (...)

39The project of a 102 km. long canal traversing the Kra Isthmus can also have crucial consequences on the development of maritime transport in the region. Conceived way back in 1677, it would offer, when finally dug, an alternative to all vessels threatened by the pirate danger along the Indonesian coasts of Sumatra. In any case, the initial objective was to compete with Singapore in the field of port installations394.

In Vietnam

40The biggest demographic power in the Southeast Asian Peninsula, Vietnam has recently expressed its maritime ambitions for which it relies on the wealth of its waters that border the coast for more than 3000 kilometres. If the country is generally under control, this long coastline offers plenty of hideouts to pirates.

41In 1999, Hanoi planned for an investment of around $ 1.4 billions in port infrastructure and for the acquisition of a score of modern military ships. Meanwhile, at the dawn of the 21st century, the Vietnamese Naval security forces had only thirty patrol boats of Russian origin at their disposal for ensuring the safety of shipping transport while, it completely lacked aeronautic means.

42The Vietnamese Government however congratulated itself on the results obtained due to a perfect understanding between the Naval Police, Border Police and the National Navy and it does not exclude the exchange of information among the countries of the region. Since then, it participates regularly in conferences and seminars organised on the theme of piracy.

7.2.2. Two very concerned Asian giants

India more on the offensive

  • 395 Nayan Chanda, “After the Bomb”, Far Eastern Economic Review, 13th April 2000.

43India is concerned about the dangers that threaten its internal security. New Delhi is wary of the screen effect of piracy, which could hide different forms of terrorism or arms trafficking. The ambitious objective pursued by New Delhi would be to secure the oceans of the Arabian Sea till the China Sea by the development of naval patrols and aerial surveillance395.

44More prosaically, it is against the particularly unstable backdrop of the Bay of Bengal that India annually conducts the Milan exercises jointly with Southeast Asian navies off the coast of the Andaman Islands. In this zone,-the key to the Indian Ocean, the command centre has just been endowed with rapid heavily armed patrol boats for fighting against the pirates.

45The Indian Coast Guards have shown great rigour. In November 1999, their resolve led to the recovery of the Alondra Rainbow and the full marks awarded to them by the IMB have no doubt satisfied New Delhi, that not only covets a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, but also clearly desires to compete, on the Southeast Asian scene, against the People’s Republic of China.

46The Indian Government firstly began a rapprochement with Vietnam by collaborating in the anti-piracy war. It also maintains regular dialogue with the Japanese Government, since both countries would hold meetings every year related to security in Asia, wherein the subject of discussion would be dangers threatening important shipping routes. In November 2000, Indian and Japanese Coast Guards took part in the joint exercises.

  • 396 Anthony Davis, “Heading for Trouble”, Asiaweek, 9th June 2000.

47In 2000, the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jaswanth Singh, expressed his desire for a more active dialogue between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with special emphasis on transnational crime396. The relations between India and Thailand in matters of maritime security were strengthened in 1997. In order to combat the pirate threat, the two Governments were in favour of the idea of common patrolling.

48These measures are promising as far as regional security is concerned. But at the precise moment when India is taking advantage of piracy to ply in the waters of East Asia, China is reaffirming its presence in the Bay of Bengal from Burma.

China proves its credentials

49Peking is an indispensable player in the pirate issue, because its southern most seas are directly affected and also because the attacked boats in the Malay Straits are often hijacked to Chinese ports. Peking’s attitude has often been criticised. However, the frequent arrests that took place in the previous years ended up reassuring the shipping organisations.

50Apart from the particularly difficult case of Spratly, where it seems that the use of corsairs is still favoured, China has clearly decided to opt for enforcement. Besides arresting many pirates including those of the Cheung Son who were executed, the Chinese Minister for Public Safety conducted a meeting on maritime crime, at the end of 1999, whose objective was apparently to encourage the Police forces to dedicate the efforts that are necessary for the optimisation of their action.

51It is the Maritime Security Administration that is in charge of navigational safety, rescue and research operations. This bureau employed thirty thousand people in 1999 and had a thousand boats.

52Amongst the reforms decided by Peking in the last few years, one can cite the standardisation of the number of paramilitary patrols in the sea, the publication of documents, installation of high priority telephone lines through which the victims could contact the concerned authorities. There was also a question of reinforcing the investigation potential in the Chinese ports far away from the Central power.

  • 397 “Repelling the Pirates”, Jane’s International Police Review, 5th January 2000.

53In the past, the collaboration between the Customs and the Department of Public Safety proved to be disappointing because of the lack of communication between the different departments. Today, it is the Maritime Security Administration that has the entire responsibility of coastal patrolling. Since then, two vessels hijacked by Coast Guards-the Marine Master and the Siam Xanxai – could be returned to their owners. The Assistant-Director of criminal investigations for the Ministry of Public Safety, Fu Zhenghua declared happily not without optimism that there was no place where pirates could hide397.

  • 398 The author’s correspondence with the Hong Kong maritime police on 21st October 2000.

54Even if hardly any major incidents were reported here during the last ten years, our work would be incomplete if no reference is made to the efforts undertaken by Hong Kong – which in the mean while has become a “special administrated region”. The maritime police of Hong Kong logically insist on highlighting that their objective is to cooperate with the coordination centres of Guangdong and Peking398. However, it largely remains autonomous in action.

55For the Maritime department of Hong Kong, it is mainly a question of elaborating counter – measures to be taken, and transmitting notes and circulars of the IMO and the IMB, and at the same time reporting acts of piracy perpetrated under its jurisdiction to these two bodies. In case of an incident in its seas, the vessels ought to contact the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) of the Maritime department, which immediately sends information to the police forces so that their patrols can intervene quickly.

56In the same manner, till 20th December 1999 when the Portuguese Colony reverted to Chinese control, the Macao Government was responsible for safety in the vicinity of the islands of Taipa and Coloane. It was in charge of “Radio Macau” for relaying warnings and information and led patrol boats day and night in the risky zones. Its structures now seem to be in the process of being absorbed into the Chinese framework.

  • 399 François Godement, “Incertaine Asie ou Asie Incertaine”, in Henry Lelièvre (dir.), Japon, Chine, C (...)

57In recent years, the People’s Republic of China has developed contacts with Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. An agreement was even signed with the National Department of Naval police in South Korea. China’s openness as far as the antipiracy war is concerned, confirmed by its regular presence in regional forums, contradicts the opinion of François Godement who in 1997399 had remarked China’s closed attitude. On the contrary, after the regional economic crisis and the accusations formulated against Peking suspected of manipulating pirates, Chinese authorities play a major role in the regional discussions.

7.3. Bi-or Trilateral Initiatives

  • 400 François Godement, in Henry Lelièvre (dir.), 2000, p. 80.

58During the time of Berbers in the nineteenth century, William Eaton, the American Consul in Tunis, was shocked that “seven kings of Europe, two Republics and a continent relied on North African buccaneers, “these highly placed savages, whose entire fleet doesn’t match the might of our vessels400”. A few years later, the United States supported European initiatives to put an end to several centuries of Berber piracy.

59Recently Indians, amongst others, were surprised by the passiveness of the Governments in East Asia. In turn, they call for better bi-or tri-lateral cooperation. Just like the United States previously in the Mediterranean, though they are not amongst the coastal nations, they call for more international cooperation.

7.3.1. Myth or reality in the Malay Archipelago: success and limitations of the collaboration between Nations

60A lot has been said about collaboration in Southeast Asia. But though the decision makers refer to it regularly to convey their good intentions, it hardly finds a tangible expression as far as the fight against maritime crime is concerned.

  • 401 “Piracy in Malacca Straits on the Decline”, Business Times, 20th May 1994.

61Once a year, a Singaporean military war ship would sail off the coast of Bintan Island (in Riau). It is hardly enough to frighten the pirates on a long-term basis. The precedents as far as co-operation is concerned however proved to be promising. In 1992, an accord was signed between Singapore and Indonesia, and the joint patrolling conducted by Malaysia and Indonesia had the effect of displacing the epicentre of maritime crime to the South China Sea. This prompted the Indonesians to declare somewhat peremptorily that their zone was free from pirates401.

Singapore-Indonesia

62In July 1992, Singapore and Jakarta were engaged in establishing a common maritime committee to inform each other about unilateral initiatives. Then there had been the question of coordinating patrolling and pursuits within the framework of the Indo-Singapore Coordinated Patrols Project (ISCP). The latter had brought together the Coast Guards of Singapore, the Coastal Command of the Navy of the Republic of Singapore (COSCOM), Indonesian Police (Polri) and the Group for the Safety of the Western Fleet of the Indonesian Navy (Guskamlabar) based at Tanjung Penang (Bintan Island). Henceforth, meetings took place every four months in order to share information.

63Though the vessels of each country ply exclusively on their own territorial waters, they can, today as in the past, begin certain pursuits in the territorial waters of their neighbours by making a simple request. However, the pirate has the advantage of functioning without any constraints. In 1992, this cooperation led to 38 arrests, but later the system slowly slackened. The revival of joint patrols in 1999 proved to be inadequate to prevent the sudden increase in the acts of piracy in the Malacca Straits.

Indonesia-Malaysia

  • 402 F. Jamaludin, “Joint Patrol of Malacca Straits Begin”, The New Straits Times, 14th June 1993

64In September 1992, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta studied conducting joint patrolling, agreeing to the right of pursuit subject to certain conditions (hot pursuit) and establishing priority radio contacts. However, joint patrolling has mostly served to fight against smuggling. In June 1993, a manœuvre implicating four vessels of each State had to intercept suspected pirates, identify persons causing pollution as well as intercept smugglers with hi-fi material or pornographic videos402.

65Anxious to preserve their sovereignty, the two countries have finally decided to mind their own territorial waters. In this context, collaboration is often limited to simple radio contacts, and to sporadic but highly publicised operations.

  • 403 Consult www.maritimesecurity.com
  • 404 Chong Set Son, “Joint Patrol Have Made Straits Safer for Vessel”, The New Straits Times, 29th July (...)
  • 405 Bernama, “M’sia, Indonesia Agree to Step up Border Patrol”, The Borneo Post, 8th November 2000.

66On 22nd July 1999, four Indonesian and three Malaysian boats and two Cessna of the Royal Malaysian AirForce thus took part in a week long exercise named “Operation Optima”. While the armies of the two countries learnt to “understand each other better in view of a better cooperation” the ships inspected eighteen trawlers without carrying out arrests. Let us remember that, every day, more than 600 vessels transit through the Straits of Malacca403. Hence only 0.4% of the boats could be verified during the operation. The officer in charge of the MECC of Lumut in Malaysia, Datuk Mat Rabi Abu Samah, seemed to be satisfied. According to him, these patrols contradicted Western reports according to which the Straits were infested with pirates404. Finally, the exchange of information would have allowed Malaysia to first identify and then to target different criminal groups. The idea of increased collaboration in this domain between Sarawak (Malaysia) and Kalimantan (Indonesia) around the island of Borneo was received favourably405.

67The cooperation albeit very modest, has obviously produced some results as far as the identification of pirate bases is concerned. The forces of the two countries have succeeded in infiltrating the pirate dens in Batam, Selatpanjang and Bengkalis in the Malacca Straits. Spies were able to signal the movements of the bandits to the patrol ships that sailed along the border.

  • 406 “Malaysian Police Cripple Piracy Gang, Nab Three Indonesians”, AFP, 25 th October 2000.
  • 407 “Trouble at Sea”, editorial, The Straits Times on 20th June 2001.

68On 12th October 2000, during a nocturnal pursuit, three Indonesian pirates were arrested while three of their accomplices escaped by jumping into the water. Later, it was learnt that the gang had committed twenty-nine attacks against merchant vessels in Sumatra, and eleven against local trawlers off the seas of the countries of Johor, Malacca and Selangor406. Between January and June 2001, several other gangs were intercepted between Sumatra and the Peninsula. It included, amongst others, “Sea Robin Hoods”, originating from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, who burgled rich vessels to distribute their booty in the coastal villages407.

  • 408 Indonesia, Malaysia Agree to Boost Efforts to Combat Sea Piracy”, AFP, 16th November 2000.

69Indonesia and Malaysia have benefited from the meeting on November 2000 that took place in Kuala Lumpur against the backdrop of the famous Petronas twin towers, to announce the next amendment of the agreement on border cooperation signed in 1972 and modified in 1984. It is certainly the sudden increase of piracy in the Malacca Straits, which incited the two countries to combine their efforts once again within the General Border Committee408.

The participation of Philippines

70In October 1992, at the same time as the Indonesian – Singaporean and Indonesian – Malaysian agreements, Indonesia and Philippines united in an attempt to “pacify” the Celebes Sea. A year later, Manila joined hands with Kuala Lumpur in order to render the Sulu Sea safer. This was another sensitive zone affected by piracy as well as by clandestine immigration and illegal fishing. Exchange of information between the southern zone headquarters of the Philippines based in Zamboanga and the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre in Malaysia as well as joint exercises and visits to ports were discussed.

71In November 1994, a joint patrol operation was launched in the Sabah Province in Borneo. 500 men were mobilised. It was nevertheless agreed upon that no vessel would leave the waters of its country. Once again, the attachment of the nations to their sovereignty has clearly affected the efficiency of the measures.

  • 409 S. Marshall, “Dire Need to Address Root Causes of the Mindanao Conflict”, The New Straits Times 27 (...)
  • 410 “South China Sea Code on Agenda”, The Star 22nd July 2000; Editorial, “Beefing Up Cooperation”, Th (...)

72The capture of the Jolo hostages, in 2000, gave a considerable impetus to bi or trilateral cooperation. The capture of the hostages was an occasion for the Philippines and Malaysia to enhance their bilateral cooperation, essentially in the peripheral areas, in the Sulu Archipelago409. In March 2000, a meeting between senior Filipino and Malaysian officials highlighted the necessity of conducting joint border patrols, amongst others. During a meeting of the Asean, which took place a few months later, the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Syed Hamid, opened a dialogue on this theme with his Filipino counter part Domingo Siazon410.

  • 411 Susan Tam, “Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta to Boost Cooperation”, The Star, 8th May 2002.
  • 412 AFP, 16th November 2000.

73Likewise, in May 2002, after the September 11 attacks in New York, a trilateral accord on the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy brought together Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. A structure was thus founded, open to other countries in the region to facilitate exchange and analysis of information411. This echoed the anxiety expressed by the Filipino Secretary of State for Defence, Orlando Mercado, who had called for the signing of an accord between Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to establish border patrols in order to prevent kidnappings in the zone412.

Other examples of bi lateral co-operation

  • 413 Laura Parpan, “Aust Air Force Joins Search for Hijacked Tanker”, AAP Newsfeed, 26th April 1998.

74In spring 1998, joint aerial search expeditions were conducted by Australia and Malaysia after the disappearance of the Petro Ranger (refer to boarding incident 4). Coordinated from the Butterworth base (Peninsular Malaysia), they involved two C-130 planes following an ad hoc bilateral agreement413.

  • 414 “S’pore Gears up for New Threats”, The New Straits Times, 16thMarch 2000.

75On its part, Singapore showed its keenness to cooperate with other countries in the antipiracy war. In August 1999, the island-nation helped Vietnam during the investigations connected to the disappearance of Luna Brisa. In March 2000, the Singapore Defence Minister Tony Tan referred to the notion of “total security414”, specifying that the armed forces of his country were going to work more closely with the Government bodies of neighbouring countries.

  • 415 Chon Shi Yong, “President Instructs Foreign Minister to Send N.K. Message on Military Provocation” (...)
  • 416 Yoo Yong Won, “Military Declares War on Piracy”, Chosun, 10th May 2000.

76At the same time, the President of South Korea, Kim Dae Jung, evinced his interest in the subject of piracy in the Malacca Straits415. His Defence minister Lee Joung-binn, added that he was contemplating a system of mutual assistance with the military authorities of Southeast Asia. Exercises conducted a year earlier by the South Korean and Indonesian Navies could have been a sort of preliminary experience416.

  • 417 Nusara Thaitawat and Onnucha Hutasingh, “Armed Forces – Navy Keen to Start Joint Patrols with VN”, (...)

77Though on a more modest scale, the Vietnam-Thai cooperation should also be mentioned. It included the traditional exchange of information and patrols in the adjoining areas. Each country had initially planned to provide a frigate for operations of around seven days conducted in the Gulf of Thailand417.

78Similarly Thailand and Malaysia who share a 645 km. long border conducted a series of joint patrolling. Between March and July 1999, they covered the region of Yala in Thailand till Perak to the west of the Peninsula. Between 14th and 30th November 1999, the operation was extended further to the east, in the zone of Narathiwat/Kelantan. From March to July 2000, patrolling was conducted in the Songkhla/Kedah sector, before their efforts were concentrated once again in the Yala/Perak zone.

  • 418 Raslan Baharom, “Malaysia-Thai Border Patrols Boost to Security”, The Star, 17th November 2000.

79These patrols normally involved around sixty men. Their explicit mission was to watch over the mounting maritime crime, which appears in this region as a “new threat418”.

80Since 1992, when the first agreements on piracy were signed by the major maritime powers of Southeast Asia, links have been substantially strengthened. Indonesia, where the main pirate bases are found is proving to be consistently more cooperative. The fact remains that joint patrolling is only a palliative to a cooperation that could make it possible for each signatory or for a common force to intervene, according to their needs, irrespective of the seas affected.

7.3.2. France and Asian pirates: A story that continues

81In the 19th century, like Spain in the Sulu region, the Dutch in the Malacca Straits, and the British on the Chinese coast and in Borneo, France took up the fight against piracy.

82A century later, the French authorities are less mobilised. The stakes are no longer the same. Colonial objectives and territorial stakes have given way to strictly commercial considerations, be it maritime traffic or the sale of military equipment.

83For a long time, de-colonization and the Cold War had fixed the rules of the game. The evolution of relations between nations determined the movements of various fleets. Gradually, interference, maintenance of peace and humanitarian missions have replaced American and Soviet patrols. Since then, Westerners from a civil background rather than a military one have been dominating the scene.

84These peaceful inheritors of the first explorers have turned their attention particularly to refugees and victims of Indochinese piracy. Bernard Kouchner and Patrice Franceschi off the coast of Anambas (to the east of Malaysia), or on board the Ile de Lumiere have strived to come to the aid of the victims through their various initiatives.

85Nations themselves have reconsidered their traditional missions. Today, intervention is often indirect. It could partly be a result of the Montego Bay Convention signed in 1982. In fact, by setting up Exclusive Economic Zones, the coastal states extend their authority on the high seas to the detriment of foreign navies, who can no longer patrol near risky coasts and zones. The legal framework of intervention on the high seas against pirates leaves foreign navies little room for manœuvre.

  • 419 Military Source. Correspondence with the author on 28th February 2002
  • 420 Military Source. Correspondence with the author on 28th February 2002

86Thus, the rules of international law impede French officers, occasionally confronted with piracy. “In practice, only crimes in flagrante delicto or visible calls for help make it possible to intervene. The materiality of the facts is then difficult to establish, knowing that a pirate is also generally a fisherman or a coastal inhabitant419.” In order to track down the pirates it is important “that an international convention take charge of the problem and provide the national navies legal means of intervention420”.

87In any case, given the statistics, it is hardly motivating for French ships to pursue the pirates between India and China. Only three vessels flying the French flag were officially victims of piracy in 2000, that is to say, the same number as in the past eight years. Even if we include the acts of terrorism on the seas, France has rarely had to face maritime violence in Southeast Asia.

  • 421 Interview with the author, 21st February 2002.

88Despite being a victim of a pirate attack to the South of Singapore on 16th January 1999, aboard an oil tanker the Chaumont, Commander Jean Pierre Isaac clearly says: “Piracy is not something about which every body speaks every day. It is almost anecdotal. The main problem of the sailors is not piracy, but their job and their working conditions421”.

  • 422 Interview with the author, 4th February 2002.

89As a consequence, piracy constitutes above all an occasion to build contacts, begin discussions and above all envisage sale of military equipment, we were told at Saint-Dominique Street at the French Ministry of Defence422. Since a few years, pirates nevertheless have come under a more general study conducted by Rue Royale, at the Head quarters of the Navy. According to an official document released in Spring 2002, the wreckage of Erika in1999 and Ievoli Sun in 2000, the wreckage near Saint-Raphael in 2001 of the East Sea, with a thousand clandestine immigrants on board as well as the possibility of a maritime terrorist attack, have led the sailors to shift from a stand of “safety of maritime defence”, to a more active measure of “maritime safe-guarding”.

  • 423 Read about this subject Stéphane Sigrist, “Pavillon Noir sur l’Asie du Sud – Est”, Cols bleus, no. (...)

90In Southeast Asia, the Henaff was made to patrol in the Malacca Straits423 as a most remarkable initiative. Between December 2000 and January 2001, the dispatch boat’s mission was to affirm the presence of armed French forces and to stop the suspicious vessels off the coast of Singapore, or Port Klang in Malaysia.

91On this occasion, French sailors were initiated to the anti-piracy war in the Malacca Straits. But they had difficulty in identifying their targets. This mission engendered a feeling that the issue necessitated a specific approach, as far as the equipment as well as the legal framework were concerned.

  • 424 Interview with the author, 30th April 2002.

92At the Hotel Matignon, in the Prime Minister’s office, it was recalled that the sea “is a free space which lends itself to all kinds of illegal activities”. Piracy is only the visible tip of the iceberg. It draws attention because of its influence on the collective un-conscious424. Nevertheless, just like the networks of drug traffickers, or of clandestine immigrants, pirates have taken over from the Russian aero-naval system which conditioned French strategy to a large extent.

93On the diplomatic front, first of all, it was through the European Union that France was able to express itself on the pirate issue. During the second half of 2000, when it took over the Presidency of the European Union, France represented the E.U. through its embassy in New Delhi at a seminar on piracy organised at the initiative of India, within the framework of the ARF. One and a half years later, in February 2002, French diplomats joined their European and Asian partners to deal with this subject in Manila.

94The efforts of Paris in Southeast Asia seem to be insignificant in comparison to the demonstration of the American forces, which was remarkable after 11th September 2001. The vessels of the French merchant navy are not particularly in danger, not any more than the supplies of raw materials and hydrocarbons to France. Given the attachment of the Southeast Asian nations to their sovereignty over their territorial waters, it seems difficult to envisage a large-scale action in the region. For the moment, it is only a question of establishing diplomatic and trade relations, as proved by the recent visit to Kuala Lumpur of Admiral Battet, Chief of Naval Staff.

7.3.3. United States, United Kingdom: terms of the Anglo Saxon involvement

95In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton had called for a “new peaceful community” and since then, several initiatives of the American Government illustrated the leading role that it wished to play in its construction.

  • 425 AFP, “Broader US-Asian War Games Mooted”, The Straits Times, 8th March 2000.

96Washington had manifested its desire to be more involved in the regional strategic game by opening a military base in Mindanao, thereby prompting the Filipino Defence Minister to call for regional military exercises along with the United States425. Not less than 100 000 American soldiers recently participated in various activities in the region. The importance of the straits and of free traffic in the zone, for surface vessels as well as for American Nuclear submarines, is considered primordial.

  • 426 Ponnudurai Parameswaran, “US Military Chief Concerned at Rising Terrorism at Sea”, AFP, Manila, 26(...)

97The United States is obviously concerned about the fight against maritime crime. In September 2000, Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Forces appealed for better cooperation against ‘terrorist threats’ but also against criminal activities. His desire was that this cooperation be based on various bilateral networks and above all that it would lead to a profoundly multilateral approach426.

  • 427 These events are detailed particularly in Frédéric Durand, Timor Lorsa’e, pays carrefour de l’Asie (...)
  • 428 “US Resumes Low – Level Military Contacts With Indonesia”, consulted on www.yahoo.com on 25th May (...)

98Manœuvres were organised with South Korean, Singaporean, and Japanese Navies in the autumn of 2000. The Cobra Gold exercise, a traditional war game undertaken with Thailand was inaugurated in the same year in Singapore. Malaysia, China and Australia were invited as observers. Firstly, only Indonesia had been excluded from ‘bilateral training programmes’ meant for some of the maritime police of Southeast Asia. Its security forces had in fact been considered as ‘unreliable’ by the American departments. This is surprising given that after the massacres carried out by the Indonesian Army in East Timor427, Washington had re-established military contacts at the highest level during which the issue of a bilateral exercise along the lines of a cooperative and readiness afloat training exercise of the US Navy in Southeast Asia428 had been raised. In all, there are nearly 300 joint exercises organised annually by the United States in the region.

  • 429 Ramola Talwar Badam, “BC – India – Piracy”, AFP, 18th October 2000.
  • 430 “Technology Poised to Scuttle Pirates: US Navy”, AFP, 8th December 2000.

99In October 2000, the commander of the Seventh American Fleet recalled that although the United States did not really have to face the pirates, Washington was fully inclined to support measures taken to fight them429. In December 2000, Vice Admiral Metzeger proclaimed on his part that he was “very concerned” by piracy. He even expressed his desire to be invited for the next meeting on the subject in order to represent his country430 there. In June 2001, Admiral James Loy, Commander of the American Coast Guards offered help in his turn.

100But does this anti-piracy war in which the Americans seem so eager to participate constitute an end in itself or should it be treated as a tool of foreign policy? The new proposal called Presence Plus, founded on the principle of forward presence could have the objective of short-circuiting the existing forums and isolating China.

  • 431 “Navies Cooperating to Fight Piracy”, The Straits Times, 29th April 2002.

101In spring 2002, the American and Indian Navy began joint military exercises. Besides, they escorted ships in the Malacca Straits that were heading towards the Arabian Sea, within the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom conducted against Afghanistan. It is hardly a coincidence that Washington insisted on Malaysia being associated with the convoy431.

  • 432 ICC – IMB, January 2001, p. 18.

102As a historical maritime power, the United Kingdom plays an active political role in the pirate issue. In 1992, the project of British intervention in Southeast Asia had triggered a strong reaction from the Nations in this zone. But, in 2000, London crossed over a new threshold. While the Government closely cooperated with the IMO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Hain lobbied intensively with the nations directly capable of making the maritime routes safer. Today contacts are established with Brazil, China, India and the Philippines432.

7.4. Multilateral Initiatives

7.4.1. Initiatives of the Asean

Genesis of the Southeast Asian cooperation

  • 433 We quote the terms of Alain de Sacy here, 1999, p. 175.

103The Asean was founded in 1967. Its objective as per the Bangkok declaration was to bridge the gap between the various capitalist nations of the region against a socialist Indochinese bloc, which was then gaining ground. But this structure, which did not impose any restricting legal framework, remained for a long time a kind of “comfortable club of autocratic golfers433” whose main objective was the reinforcement of each member’s position rather than cooperation.

  • 434 Alain de Sacy, 1999, p. 181.

104As suggested by the political expert Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, for a long time, external affairs have come to the aid of Southeast Asian leaders. They justified their legitimacy by the role that they played outside their borders. The objective of the Asean was not “to integrate a community into the international stream” but rather to serve the Governments of the region434.

105Today, as the memories of the Cold War are fading, countries are more multilaterally inclined. As the Malaysian Government particularly seems to desire, Asean should be able to seize the opportunity that piracy indirectly offers in order to strongly reaffirm itself in matters of security.

106Regionalism would become “centrifugal”; nations should place themselves more at the service of the region. Several initiatives have been launched in this direction. On the one hand, they are founded on the Asean forum that targets security problems and on the other hand, on the very structures of the Asean, that are in charge of the fight against transnational crime.

The reactivation of the Asean Regional Forum (ARF)

107Within the Asean, economic concerns have for a long time taken precedence over security issues. Although Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia joined the institution between 1992 and 1999, it was primarily to derive benefit from its economic development, even though it was seriously impeded by the 1997 crisis.

108It is within the framework of the Asean Regional Forum that the necessity for greater concerted efforts was felt. Affirming its identity, the Forum contributed to the regional strategic studies while offering a conducive background for dialogue.

109Non-military threats – foremost among them being piracy-are at present included in the agenda of the ARF and their possible consequences on East Asian trade are not underestimated.

  • 435 Jusuf Wanandi, “Asean’s Future is at Stake”, The Jakarta Post, 10th August 2000.
  • 436 “Multilateral Approach Needed to Combat Piracy”, The New Straits Times, 2nd October 2000.

110In the columns of the Jakarta Post, Jusuf Wanandi, an Indonesian expert on international relations, and a member of the formerly highly influential Centre for Strategic and International Studies of Jakarta has highlighted the importance of multi-lateralism, while hoping for a fresh boost to the Asean435. Likewise in October 2000, the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, strongly expressed his desire to enhance co-operation in all forms, favouring a multilateral approach, notably through the Asean and its Regional Forum. The only constraint, but an important one, was that the Malaysian leaders insisted on the necessity of not interfering in the internal affairs of the membernations436.

  • 437 “Set Up Asian Security Structure”, The Star, 3rd December 1999.

111If the Asian crisis, the risks of political collapse as well as the forest fires in Indonesia have shown the limitations of regional organisation, the anti-piracy war seems to be an opportunity to give it a “fresh lease of life”. It is not a coincidence that while calling for the setting up of a regional security structure in December 1999, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed highlighted the necessity of liberating the sea routes from pirates and hijackers437.

  • 438 Jimmy Yeow, “Anti – Piracy Patrols to be Strengthened”, Business Times, 3rd August 1994.

112Similarly, the Filipino-Indonesian example is worth a mention. These two members of the Asean claim, amongst others, the Spratly Islands. They have however chosen to exchange information and to conduct some coordinated patrolling438. This decision was taken in 1994 during a conference in Kuala Lumpur on maritime communication routes and the future challenges of the Asia Pacific region. The question of confidence building measures was also raised. This mechanism, very much in vogue in this region, consists of launching various initiatives on the least sensitive issues in order to enhance exchanges between competing nations on strategic issues. In this context, the anti-piracy war frequently referred to.

113Mounting insecurity on the seas could justify the military one-upmanship and increase the defence budget as well. Since the 90s, the region is prey to an arms race, which is quantitative (in absolute value in terms of a proportion of the Gross National Product) as well as qualitative, since priority is given to naval weapons and projectiles. Thus, the first Singaporean submarine reached its base in April 2000 and a second one followed in 2001. The military budget of $ 4.4 billion. Thailand, with $ 2.0 billion allocated to defence, already owns an aircraft carrier and is contemplating acquiring a submarine. Indonesia, whose Government has given importance to the Navy from 1999, despite its serious economic difficulties, should increase its military personnel in the five years to come. In the early 90s, it acquired several vessels from the former East German Navy.

  • 439 “US Cautions China, Russia, India over Asia Security”, Reuters, 15th November 2000.

114Such an evolution risks increasing the tensions between countries that continue to fight with each other on certain maritime zones rich in fishing and natural resources. Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander of the American Forces in the Pacific, who seemed to dread that transnational issues would stir up military rivalry, rather than induce regional cooperation439, shared this fear in November 2000.

ARF and the nebulous Asean

115The text Vision 2020, adopted by the Asean in 1997, places the combat against trans national crime amongst the long-term objectives of the organisation. At the 31st and the 32nd meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Asean (Asean Ministerial Meeting-AMM), which took place in Manila, then in Singapore respectively in July 1998, the participants highlighted the urgent necessity of reinforcing regional capabilities as far as the fight against crime, maritime or otherwise, was concerned In July 2000, this priority was confirmed during the seventh Asean Regional Forum organised in Bangkok. A meeting was also organised in Bombay in October 2000, to discuss the problem. The coastal countries in Southeast Asia sought to review the national measures of the fight against maritime piracy.

116The issue has clearly become pivotal, or even incantatory. Generally, a political stand accompanies the commissions of international experts. After the Ministerial meeting on trans-national crime (AMM on Trans-national crime-AMMTC) on 20th December 1997, a work group charted a plan of action that would be adopted eighteen months later.

117During the senior officials’ meeting on transnational crime-SOMTC, the issue of coordinated intervention with the external players in the zone was again discussed. In 2002, the second SOMTC debated the importance of harmonising laws against transnational crime. The possibility of confiscating the wealth of the pirate organisations and freezing their bank accounts was also raised. The AMMTC then sought to develop relations between partners of the ARF as well as with the UNO and its specialised bureaus, the Planning Bureau in Colombo and Interpol.

118At the same time, the Governments agreed on the implementation of an Asean Centre for Combating Transnational Crime – (ACTC) whose objective, once again quite modest, is to promote the collection and exchange of data, to help ministers in the realisation of activities contained in the Plan, to conduct profound analyses and to give information on the legal measures of each country.

  • 440 The 20th conference of the Asean police Chiefs took place in Burma in 2000. Here, it was insisted (...)

119Amongst the difficulties faced by the Asean in rationalising its action, the excessively closed nature of the various structures seems to be especially worrisome. Thus to the Asean Ministerial Meetings are added the Asean Finance Ministers’ Meetings. Their deliberations on customs regulations and the modalities of the fight against smuggling-in which “phantom ships” are often implicated-affect the evolution of piracy. Similarly, Asean chiefs of National Police (Aseanpol) apprehend the legal aspects of the enforcement package without the Ministers of Foreign Affairs seeming to be consulted about it. The Aseanpol is a part of numerous functional committees, that are different from ministerial meetings. Ad hoc commissions were created to tackle drug trafficking, arms smuggling, counterfeiting, economic crimes as well as extraditions440.

120In March 2002, on a more operational front, Asean undertook to constitute a special regional force with the intention of linking the various navies of Southeast Asia. The possibility of establishing the coordination centre in Jakarta and finding a federal flag under which the vessels of various nations could patrol together was discussed. The European Union, which is already experienced in combined defence matters, has already offered its assistance.

7.4.2. Japan: Possible instigator of a veritable multilateral cooperation?

121Japan is directly affected by piracy in the Malay straits that constitute its ‘jugular artery’. That is why, after the successive disappearances of the Tenyu in 1998 and the Alondra Rainbow in 1999 and before that of the Global Mars in 2000, Japan contemplated taking up the northern route and the Arctic Ocean, thereby fuelling the anxiety of Asian ports.

  • 441 Muzi News, “Asian Coast Guards List Contact Lines to Fight Piracy”, Lateline News, 9thMarch 2000.

122The solution hardly seems viable and the outcome of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s initiative in November 1999 which sowed the seeds of a measured cooperation on an Asian scale is keenly awaited. First of all, it was to bring together countries sensitive to the pirate issue in order to establish institutional contact points between members of the Asean, Japan, India, China and South Korea. Such an initiative could lead to a better coordination as far as research and rescue operations, pursuits, interception of hijacked vessels and setting up of legal tools are concerned441.

  • 442 Donald Urquhart, “Asia’s Coast Guard Officials in S’pore to Discuss Piracy”, The Shipping Times, 8(...)

123Thus on 7th March 2000, representatives of the Coast Guards of fifteen jurisdictions – Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, and Laos… gathered in Singapore. Here, Japan’s offer to send its own patrol ships to the zone to encourage an international campaign against piracy was debated without much enthusiasm (Refer above). Experts have contemplated the establishment of a communication centre, to facilitate exchange of information between the Coast Guards442.

  • 443 It brought together representatives from Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, South Kore (...)
  • 444 Reuters, “Asian Nations Meet on Urgent Piracy Problem”, 27th April 2000.

124Another meeting of an even greater magnitude was held in Tokyo, at the end of April 2000443. As luck would have it, it began after the capture of 21 persons in Sipadan Island by a commando of Abu Sayyaf. This incident only supported the observation of Keizo Obuchi’s successor Yoshiro Mori, who declared in his inaugural speech that the growing power of piracy in the East Asian Region constituted an “urgent problem444”. In response to certain countries like Indonesia who complained about the lack of means, Tokyo suggested offering a training program in Japan for the countries that desired it.

  • 445 Muzi News, “China Goes it Alone at Asian Anti – Piracy Conference”, Lateline News, 28th April 2000

125But the discussions came up once again against the delicate issue of involving Japanese forces in the joint patrols even though the Japanese Coast Guard officials took care to emphasize the non-restrictive nature of the resolution, whose application would be subject to each one’s wish445.

  • 446 Kwan Weng Kin, 4th May 2000.

126The distinction between “joint patrol” (suggested by Japan) and “coordinated patrol” (as suggested by the members of the Asean) is of importance. By “joint patrol”, one understands in fact, that a country’s vessels can patrol alongside the vessels of another country in its territorial waters. However, the sovereignty of nations still remains a sensitive issue. Any in-road can set precedents leading to consequences that are difficult to predict in a region where some boundaries are still bitterly discussed. By “coordinated patrol” one means, on the other hand, that the Coast Guards of various countries progress in a concerted manner, but exclusively in their respective territorial waters without interfering in their neighbour’s territory446.

127If, going by the number of its participants, the conference nurtured hopes, the “Tokyo declaration” was once again restricted to highlighting the sacred necessity for better exchange of information and to promising better cooperation...

128However, the main issue discussed at the latest conferences in Japan and Malaysia was neither “joint patrolling nor coordinated patrolling”, but “neutral patrolling.” On the basis of a proposal by Alan Chan, representative of Singapore, it would be a question of associating Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean, and Japanese boats under the IMO flag, so as to pursue pirates beyond borders. Once again, the project could not be executed.

129In March 2002, Tokyo brought together experts from fifteen countries yet again. But certain senior officials of the region are beginning to get impatient, regretting the proliferation of forums to the detriment of more concrete initiatives capable of truly replying to the tactical and legal challenges posed by the pirates.

7.4.3. Leading role of Europe?

  • 447 AFP, “Malaysian to Host Piracy Conference”, The Business Times, 12th July 1994.

130In July 1994, at Kuala Lumpur, a conference had brought together Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean and American experts under the aegis of the Regional Centre for Piracy. Representatives from Hong Kong and the General Secretariat of Interpol were also associated. The goal was to focus on issues like drug trafficking, clandestine immigration and piracy. China was then accused of manipulating pirates to their advantage447. No trace of the European delegation.

131The Delos confederation, during the glorious period of the Athenian quarter already seems very far off. But 2500 years later, a similar attempt to study the possibility of multilateral cooperation, which could tackle the transnational menace that piracy represents, is being undertaken all over again.

  • 448 FAP, “BC-Asia-EU-Summit-Extracts”, AP, 20th October 2000.

132The Transport Commission of the European Union still reiterates that these issues come essentially under the jurisdiction of the countries in whose territorial waters the incidents take place. The fact remains that, since 1997, during the twelfth meeting between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Asean and of the European Union, several measures were contemplated in the area of security and maritime cooperation. And in October 2000, on the European initiative, the Governments that gathered at the ASEM Summit (Asian Europe Meeting) in South Korea reiterated their interest in the piracy problem448.

133Today the theme of prevention of transnational crime in collaboration with the Asean Centre against transnational crime is favoured. Nevertheless, it would be hasty to sum up the maritime relations between the two sub-regions as the victimisation of one region’s commercial fleet by the pirates of the other region.

134The “little cape of the Asian Continent”, as Paul Valéry describes Europe would take care of a few pirates in the Malay Archipelago.

  • 449 Michel Klen, “Les Coulisses du crime organizé”, Défense Nationale, March 2001, p. 110.

135In July 1997, the Italian police discovered a rather bizarre company. Based in Rome, it recycled amateur sailing boats into war ships equipped with missile launchers, machine guns and sophisticated communication devices. Most of these boats were meant for Asian associates, which is hardly surprising considering the net works and the logistical means at the disposal of the triads449.

7.4.4. Interpol’s Arguments

136Considering its status, the IOCP (International Organisation of Criminal Police), Interpol, can claim a certain experience in the fight against transnational crime.

  • 450 Martin Gill, Crime at Sea, a Forgotten Issue in 1995, Center for Study of Public Order, Occasional (...)

137But criminologists know the difficulties involved in rigorously apprehending the crimes committed at sea, which perhaps explain why the exactions that affect so many victims are so greatly ignored450.

  • 451 James – Holden – Rhodes and Peter Lupsha, 1993, p. 212.

138Captain Graham Hicks, Secretary of the NUMAST (National Union Of Marine, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers) even regrets that public reaction is always stronger in the case of an attack against an aeroplane or a train rather than in the case of a criminal incident at sea. The reason could be twofold. It is the professionals and not the public at large who are affected; the sea is simply “out of our field of vision”, therefore, “out of mind”451. In fact, the Batam pirate Mr. Wong’s reputation did not spread beyond Southeast Asia even though his men captured numerous vessels.

  • 452 Dae H. Chang, “Aquatic Crime: New Directions Transnational Research”, in Harold E. Smith, Internat (...)
  • 453 “Le Cargo toujours encalminé à Beihai”, Le Marin, 29th December 1995, p. 7.
  • 454 AFP, “China Returns Oil Tanker to Owner, Arrests 20 Seamen”, The Shipping Times, 9th August 2000.

139In order to ensure that the oceans do not remain “silent partners to crime452”, Interpol has involved itself in many forums, participating mostly in meets organised by the Asean. Similarly, some of its national bureaus have contributed to the retrieval of lost vessels and other “phantom ships”. Moreover thanks to Interpol assistance-accompanied it is true, by a prize of 100,000 dollars – it was possible to trace the Anna Sierra in 1995453. More recently, the recovery of the Global Mars was once again made possible by the cooperation between the Interpol office in Japan and in Hong Kong454.

  • 455 For further reference consult Pierre – Arnaud Chouvy and Joel Meissonnier, 2002.

140Further proof of the police organisation’s interest in maritime crime: The questionnaire sent on 5th June 2000 to the member nations to launch the idea of an International Conference on the subject. Amongst the Southeast Asian countries directly affected by piracy, only Burma showed its “enthusiasm”. It must be mentioned that it had already hosted a conference organised by the Asean on transnational crime earlier. Evidently, it is a strategy of the military junta, which besides is very much involved in drug trafficking455, in order to ensure its legitimacy within the international community.

141It is too early to evaluate the impact of the various initiatives of the organisation. However, one can note that unlike the other regional forums, Interpol possesses this capacity to bring together without any diplomatic consideration, the various players (private and national) who are victims of piracy.

7.4.5. A specific threat, a specific answer: the importance of a United Nation’s framework

142Pirates defy boundaries. However, the legal weapons for countering them continue to be deeply marked by the Westphalian system of 1648, centred on the Nation. This gap therefore impedes initiatives. Given the transnational nature of the danger, only international cooperation seems to be capable of thwarting it.

143In November 1994, a global plan of action against transnational crime had been adopted in Naples during the World Ministerial Conference on organised transnational crime. In March 1998, this was followed by the First Ministerial Meeting of the Asean on transnational crime (AMMTC) in Manila, which had to be initially organised under the aegis of the United Nations Centre for the Prevention of International Crime.

144In May 2000, at Bangkok, an ad hoc meeting of the Asean on the subject of a convention on organised transnational crime, proposed by the UNO, confirmed that better cooperation, international as well as regional, was necessary. The signing of these conventions took place eight months later at Palermo, in the presence of representatives from 124 Nations.

  • 456 “A Proposed UN Response Force for Piracy…”, on the site www.maritimesecurity.com, 18th January 200 (...)
  • 457 Naoyoshi Ishikawa, “UN Maritime Force Crucial to Combating Piracy”, Asahi Evening News, 3rd Octobe (...)

145At the same time, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) along with the IMB and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) referred to the possibility of constituting a maritime unit of the United Nations, “a naval force with blue helmets456”. In a certain way this echoed the idea already expressed in October 1999, by a Japanese scholar in the Asahi Evening News about the necessity of creating a permanent police force of the UNO in strategic zones457.

  • 458 Donald Urquhart, “Piracy Soon to Be on UN General Assembly Agenda”, The Business Times, 18th June (...)

146Gradually, the debate on piracy has become essential in international forums. At the request of the Secretary General of the IMO, the General Assembly of the United Nations proposed that piracy and armed robbery at sea form part of the main issues discussed during the May 2001 meeting on oceans and law of the sea. (UNICPOLOS). Various ideas were formulated on this occasion: training programs or procedures for exchange of information458.

  • 459 “Secretary General Hopes More and More Parties Will Make Use of International Tribunal for Law of (...)

147Finally what about the idea of a specific jurisdiction? We have seen earlier that the International Penal Court had opened an interesting breach by recognising the 1998 Rome Convention and consequently, acts of piracy that satisfy the criteria of its article 3. It involved the setting up of a multinational force, of a second large scale project capable of contributing to a supra-national action that would reinforce multilateral prerogatives. One would thus in a certain way evolve towards the emergence of a modern version of the Hanseatic League that the cities of Northern Europe had set up against pirate threats during the Middle Ages. The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had made a reference to it while inaugurating the International Tribunal for the law of the sea at Hamburg on 3rd July 2000. This should in fact contribute to the peaceful resolution of disputes pertaining to the Convention for the law of the sea in 1982459.

  • 460 Quoted by Catherine Mitchell, 1999, p. 4.

148Timothy Goodman, an American lawyer and specialist in the law of the sea, on his part, suggested a ‘piracy court’ capable of pursuing and punishing apprehended criminals. He expressed his desire for the establishment of a ‘charter on piracy’ and of a ‘piracy commission’, liable to judge crimes perpetrated outside the nations whose citizens460 are the accused. It would thereby constitute a sort of ‘jurisdiction by default’.

  • 461 However, we will not go to the extent of an author like Barry Hart Dubner who concluded his study (...)

149The idea is attractive. It is in keeping with the studies concerning crimes against humanity461. The pirate is certainly a transnational delinquent. Fighting against him therefore necessitates a global approach.

Notes

363 Garsenda Rossinyol, La Piraterie maritime, Doctoral thesis in Law, University of Nantes, 1996,. 322 p.

364 Reuters, “Asian Nations Meet on Urgent Piracy Problem”, 27th April 2000.

365 Quoted by Olivier Weber and Marc Roche, “Le Retour des pirates”, Le Point, 8th August 1992; Reuters, “Asian Nations Meet on Urgent Piracy Problem”, 27th April 2000.

366 Solomon Kane, Laurent Passicousset, “Pirates”, Le Nouvel Afrique-Asie, no: 124, January 2000, p. 41.

367 Hélène Vissière, “Mer de Chine: Sur la route des pirates”, Le Point, no: 1419, 26th November 1999.

368 Gilbert Rochu, “Les Pirates high-tech préfèrent les mers chaudes”, Marianne, 29th November 1999.

369 David – Anthony Delavoet, 1995, p. 73.

370 David – Anthony Delavoet, 1995, p. 76.

371 Jane’s Intelligence Review, November 1997, p. 9.

372 AP, “Pacific Nations Act on Piracy Menace”, The Manila Times, 28th April 2000.

373 Interview with the author on 1st December 2000.

374 “Commandos Stage Exercise to Combat Pirates”, The Star, 24th February 2001.

375 Nik Imran Abdullah, “Marine Police Optimistic Getting RM56 Millions to Buy New Patrol Boats”, The New Straits Times, 16th January 2002.

376 Hamdan Raja Abdullah, “Beef up Patrols along Malacca Straits”, The Star, 6th February 2002.

377 ICC-IMB, January 2000, p. 20. Also refer “A Place Far from Perfect”, The Star, 22nd May 2000.

378 “Govt Willing to Negociate with Gunmen”, The Star, 28th April 2000.

379 Charlotte Venudran, “Commando Centre Begins to Take Shape in Mersing”, The New Straits Times, 14th March 2001.

380 ICC-IMB, July 2000, p. 15.

381 IMO, 3-5th February 1999, annex 6, p. 2.

382 Interview with the Director of the Malaysian Maritime Institute on 9th April 2002.

383 Arnaud Dubus and Nicolas Revise, 2002, p. 206.

384 Derwin Pereira, “Indonesian Navy Ships Not Fit to Fight”, The Straits Times, 3rd July 2002.

385 The operations were nevertheless organised under the general command of the naval communications or more exceptionally, in coordination with the coast – guards, customs, police or the navy. Around sixty arrests were made. The accused pirates were tried at the courts of Tanjung Pinang and Palembang (Sumatra).

386 IMB, “ICC Reports Sends 6 Warships into Battle against Pirates”, ICC News, 12th February 2002.

387 IMB, “ICC Reports Sends 6 Warships into Battle against Pirates”, ICC News, 12th February 2002.

388 Interview with the author, 26th March 2002.

389 “Sulu Ringed”, The Star, 28th April 2000.

390 “Repelling the Pirates”, Jane’s International Police Review, 5th January 2000.

391 “Sea Lanes Safe, Thanks to Navy, Coast Guard”, The Straits Times, 28th September 2000.

392 Arnaud Dubus and Nicolas Revise, 2002, p. 211.

393 Vu Kim Chung, 16th November 1999.

394 Harish Mehta, “Thailand Revives Delayed Kra Canal Project Again”, Business Times, 22nd June 2001 and François Tourane, 27th July 2001.

395 Nayan Chanda, “After the Bomb”, Far Eastern Economic Review, 13th April 2000.

396 Anthony Davis, “Heading for Trouble”, Asiaweek, 9th June 2000.

397 “Repelling the Pirates”, Jane’s International Police Review, 5th January 2000.

398 The author’s correspondence with the Hong Kong maritime police on 21st October 2000.

399 François Godement, “Incertaine Asie ou Asie Incertaine”, in Henry Lelièvre (dir.), Japon, Chine, Corée… Cette Asie qui derange, Editions Complexe, Brussels, 2000, p. 102.

400 François Godement, in Henry Lelièvre (dir.), 2000, p. 80.

401 “Piracy in Malacca Straits on the Decline”, Business Times, 20th May 1994.

402 F. Jamaludin, “Joint Patrol of Malacca Straits Begin”, The New Straits Times, 14th June 1993

403 Consult www.maritimesecurity.com

404 Chong Set Son, “Joint Patrol Have Made Straits Safer for Vessel”, The New Straits Times, 29th July1999.

405 Bernama, “M’sia, Indonesia Agree to Step up Border Patrol”, The Borneo Post, 8th November 2000.

406 “Malaysian Police Cripple Piracy Gang, Nab Three Indonesians”, AFP, 25 th October 2000.

407 “Trouble at Sea”, editorial, The Straits Times on 20th June 2001.

408 Indonesia, Malaysia Agree to Boost Efforts to Combat Sea Piracy”, AFP, 16th November 2000.

409 S. Marshall, “Dire Need to Address Root Causes of the Mindanao Conflict”, The New Straits Times 27th May 2000.

410 “South China Sea Code on Agenda”, The Star 22nd July 2000; Editorial, “Beefing Up Cooperation”, The New Straits Times, 10th August 2000.

411 Susan Tam, “Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta to Boost Cooperation”, The Star, 8th May 2002.

412 AFP, 16th November 2000.

413 Laura Parpan, “Aust Air Force Joins Search for Hijacked Tanker”, AAP Newsfeed, 26th April 1998.

414 “S’pore Gears up for New Threats”, The New Straits Times, 16th March 2000.

415 Chon Shi Yong, “President Instructs Foreign Minister to Send N.K. Message on Military Provocation”, The Korea Herald, 3rd March 2000.

416 Yoo Yong Won, “Military Declares War on Piracy”, Chosun, 10th May 2000.

417 Nusara Thaitawat and Onnucha Hutasingh, “Armed Forces – Navy Keen to Start Joint Patrols with VN”, Bangkok Post, 2nd December 1998.

418 Raslan Baharom, “Malaysia-Thai Border Patrols Boost to Security”, The Star, 17th November 2000.

419 Military Source. Correspondence with the author on 28th February 2002

420 Military Source. Correspondence with the author on 28th February 2002

421 Interview with the author, 21st February 2002.

422 Interview with the author, 4th February 2002.

423 Read about this subject Stéphane Sigrist, “Pavillon Noir sur l’Asie du Sud – Est”, Cols bleus, no. 2572, 12th May 2002, p. 22-25.

424 Interview with the author, 30th April 2002.

425 AFP, “Broader US-Asian War Games Mooted”, The Straits Times, 8th March 2000.

426 Ponnudurai Parameswaran, “US Military Chief Concerned at Rising Terrorism at Sea”, AFP, Manila, 26th September 2000; Ponnudurai Parameswaran, “US Wants Better Multinational Cooperation in Asia”, AFP, Manila, 26th September 2000.

427 These events are detailed particularly in Frédéric Durand, Timor Lorsa’e, pays carrefour de l’Asie et du Pacific – Un atlas géo – historique, University Press of Marne – la – Vallée-IRASEC, Bangkok-Marne – la – Vallée, 2002.

428 “US Resumes Low – Level Military Contacts With Indonesia”, consulted on www.yahoo.com on 25th May 2000.

429 Ramola Talwar Badam, “BC – India – Piracy”, AFP, 18th October 2000.

430 “Technology Poised to Scuttle Pirates: US Navy”, AFP, 8th December 2000.

431 “Navies Cooperating to Fight Piracy”, The Straits Times, 29th April 2002.

432 ICC – IMB, January 2001, p. 18.

433 We quote the terms of Alain de Sacy here, 1999, p. 175.

434 Alain de Sacy, 1999, p. 181.

435 Jusuf Wanandi, “Asean’s Future is at Stake”, The Jakarta Post, 10th August 2000.

436 “Multilateral Approach Needed to Combat Piracy”, The New Straits Times, 2nd October 2000.

437 “Set Up Asian Security Structure”, The Star, 3rd December 1999.

438 Jimmy Yeow, “Anti – Piracy Patrols to be Strengthened”, Business Times, 3rd August 1994.

439 “US Cautions China, Russia, India over Asia Security”, Reuters, 15th November 2000.

440 The 20th conference of the Asean police Chiefs took place in Burma in 2000. Here, it was insisted upon an exchange of information, uniformity of law rights in matters of piracy as well as on the training programmes. For press communiqués, declarations, and minutes of the meeting, consult the specific site of the association www.asean.or.id. Also refer S. Pushpanathan, Managing Transnational Crime in Asean, Asean, Jakarta, 1999.

441 Muzi News, “Asian Coast Guards List Contact Lines to Fight Piracy”, Lateline News, 9th March 2000.

442 Donald Urquhart, “Asia’s Coast Guard Officials in S’pore to Discuss Piracy”, The Shipping Times, 8th March 2000.

443 It brought together representatives from Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, to which was added Russian, Australian, and American observers as well as Non – Governmental Organisations-which were mainly from Singapore and Japan.

444 Reuters, “Asian Nations Meet on Urgent Piracy Problem”, 27th April 2000.

445 Muzi News, “China Goes it Alone at Asian Anti – Piracy Conference”, Lateline News, 28th April 2000.

446 Kwan Weng Kin, 4th May 2000.

447 AFP, “Malaysian to Host Piracy Conference”, The Business Times, 12th July 1994.

448 FAP, “BC-Asia-EU-Summit-Extracts”, AP, 20th October 2000.

449 Michel Klen, “Les Coulisses du crime organizé”, Défense Nationale, March 2001, p. 110.

450 Martin Gill, Crime at Sea, a Forgotten Issue in 1995, Center for Study of Public Order, Occasional Paper no: 7, Leicester, 1995, p. 25.

451 James – Holden – Rhodes and Peter Lupsha, 1993, p. 212.

452 Dae H. Chang, “Aquatic Crime: New Directions Transnational Research”, in Harold E. Smith, International Crime: Investigative Response, Smith, Chicago, 1989, p. 79.

453 “Le Cargo toujours encalminé à Beihai”, Le Marin, 29th December 1995, p. 7.

454 AFP, “China Returns Oil Tanker to Owner, Arrests 20 Seamen”, The Shipping Times, 9th August 2000.

455 For further reference consult Pierre – Arnaud Chouvy and Joel Meissonnier, 2002.

456 “A Proposed UN Response Force for Piracy…”, on the site www.maritimesecurity.com, 18th January 2000.

457 Naoyoshi Ishikawa, “UN Maritime Force Crucial to Combating Piracy”, Asahi Evening News, 3rd October 1999.

458 Donald Urquhart, “Piracy Soon to Be on UN General Assembly Agenda”, The Business Times, 18th June 2001.

459 “Secretary General Hopes More and More Parties Will Make Use of International Tribunal for Law of the Sea”, M2Presswire, 3rd July 2000.

460 Quoted by Catherine Mitchell, 1999, p. 4.

461 However, we will not go to the extent of an author like Barry Hart Dubner who concluded his study on piracy by questioning the possibility of qualifying pirates as “enemies of the entire humanity” (Barry Hart Dubner, 1995, p. 11).

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