Piracy and International Maritime Crimes in ASEAN

Piracy and International Maritime Crimes in ASEAN

Prospects for Cooperation

NUS Centre for International Law series

Edited by Robert Beckman and J. Ashley Roach

Southeast Asian waters are critical for international trade and the global economy. Combating maritime crimes has always been a priority as well as a challenge for ASEAN member states. While much emphasis has been placed on enhancing operational cooperation against maritime crimes, the need for an effective legal framework to combat such maritime crimes has not been sufficiently examined. This book demonstrates that ASEAN member states can establish a legal framework to combat maritime crimes by ratifying and effectively implementing relevant global and regional conventions. It also explores the issues that ASEAN member states, and ASEAN as an organization, face in establishing such a framework and suggests suitable steps that can be taken to address such issues.

Chapter 6: ASEAN measures in combating piracy and other maritime crimes

Chalermpalanupap Termsak and Mayla Iba-ez

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, maritime law


For the period of 2006–2010, it was reported that there were 339 actual incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Southeast Asia. Although incidents in the region were less violent than elsewhere and were mostly opportunistic in nature (cash, personal property and belongings of the crew were stolen), it bears noting that the numbers have increased. In 2010, 98 actual incidents and 21 attempted incidents reportedly occurred, signifying an increase of 65 per cent from the previous year – the highest number of incidents for the five-year period. Significantly within the region, three tugboats were also hijacked which were later recovered after prompt response and cooperation of law enforcement authorities in the region. The increasing number of incidents in the region, the increasing risks to crew members and the transnational nature of the crimes all point to the need for concerted efforts among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to combat maritime crimes effectively. Presently, ASEAN member states deal with piracy and other maritime crimes as primarily a national law enforcement issue (trilaterally to a limited extent in the case of Straits of Malacca and Singapore). In addition, ASEAN member states appear to have different levels of interest and policy approaches towards piracy.

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