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PacNet #21A – Protect Asia’s Shipping

For the past five years, the world has experienced a serious rise in maritime piracy, particularly in Southeast Asia. The worst year was 2000, when pirate attacks rose by almost 60 percent. Although estimates are difficult to calculate, financial loss from maritime crime was conservatively estimated for that year at $16 billion. More than two-thirds of these attacks occurred in Asian waters, with most taking place in Indonesia’s sea lanes. Since that time, however, the situation has improved. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that pirate attacks dropped 27 percent worldwide and by one-third in Southeast Asia in 2001. Particular credit should be given to the governments of Malaysia and Singapore for implementing anti-piracy measures that have led to a 75 percent drop-off in incidents of piracy in the Malacca Straits in 2001. Nonetheless, Southeast Asia remains the region most prone to acts of piracy, accounting for 50 percent of all attacks worldwide.