Piracy and International Maritime Crimes in ASEAN
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Piracy and International Maritime Crimes in ASEAN

Prospects for Cooperation

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.
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Chapter 1: The piracy regime under UNCLOS: problems and prospects for cooperation

Robert C. Beckman


The modern law of piracy is set out in articles 100 to 107 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (‘UNCLOS’). The UNCLOS provisions are almost identical to articles 14 to 21 of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas, which are in turn based on articles 38 to 45 of the International Law Commission’s 1956 Draft Articles on the law of the sea. The 1956 ILC Report was based to a large extent on the 1932 draft convention prepared under the direction of Professor Joseph Bingham of Stanford University as the culmination of exhaustive research undertaken by Harvard Law School. In this chapter, I will analyse the piracy provisions in UNCLOS in their historical context in the hope of shedding some light on why the provisions are not adequate to deal with modern piracy threats such as those which occur in areas of the Somali basin. I will then analyse the practice of states in adopting national legislation on piracy. Finally, I will suggest what steps could be taken by ASEAN states to enhance their cooperation to combat piracy in the region.

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