Managing Maritime Security in Malacca Straits

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MANAGING MARITIME SECURITY IN MALACCA STRAITS:
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE MARITIME DOMAIN AWARENESS AT
MALACCA STRAITS?

BY

SEGAR A/L MUNIANDY

INTRODUCTION

1.Seafarers have sought an understanding of the oceans for centuries. Modern day enable us to relied upon technology to collect data in this environment. Today’s complex and ambiguous threats place an even greater premium on knowledge and a shared understanding of the maritime domain. Adequately addressing these threats requires effective and superior decision-making. Decision superiority is enabled by ensuring global maritime information dominance through the collection, integration and dissemination of information and intelligence, and the development of knowledge. An effective understanding of the global maritime domain enables focused law enforcement and military action, supports strategic decision-making and operational threat response while promoting freedom, civil liberties, and prosperity for all. On 22 Sep 07, MV Kraton, an Indonesia registered product tanker, had been boarded by several robbers about 40nm south east of Bintan Island. This incident has been reported by the shipmaster to Tanjung Buyut pilot station in Palembang, Indonesia. This information later been passed on to the Singaporean and Malaysian authorities to enable them to search for the vessel and on 27 Sep 07, Indonesia authorities managed to recover this vessel and arrested seven robbers. The incident shows the importance of information sharing in order to expedite action taken and later bring success to the whole operation.

2.Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is defined as all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances.[1] In a simple word, MDA is defined as the understanding of the situation at sea to enable maritime security. The aim of the essay to discuss whether is it possible to achieve MDA in Malacca Strait? First, it will highlight the reason for cooperative MDA in Malacca Strait and the reason behind it. Then it will look into the challenges and security concern among the littoral states and the maritime user. It also describe existing cooperation and agreement that been established in order to ensure security and stability and identified benefits from all these. Finally, it will discuss the initiative that been done and a ways ahead in achieving MDA in Malacca Strait.

THE REASON FOR COOPERATIVE MDA

3.Malacca Straits is a golden heritage of the littoral states such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It is not only rich in marine resources but is one of the oldest and busiest shipping lanes in the world. Malacca Straits serves as a primary conduit for the movement of cargo and human traffics between Indo-European region and the rest of Asia and Australia. It is the shortest East-West sea route compared to the Indonesia’s Macassar and Lombok Straits. Every year about RM3.8 trillion worth of goods and services pass through the region formed by the Straits of Malacca and other associated shipping routes. By using the Malacca Straits, the Japanese petroleum Industry saves up to RM1.3 billion annually.[2]

4.Such maritime threats include piracy, hijacking, the illicit trafficking of contraband and people, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that find carriage and conveyance through world’s increasingly congested waterways. In particular, the terrorist threat in the maritime domain remains clear and present danger. A successful terrorist strike on a major port or waterways would not only seriously disrupt global trade but also have a severe knock-on effect on many national economies dependent on the unimpeded flow of “right-on-time” maritime trade. Any deterioration in maritime security that results in the prolonged disruption or restriction of maritime...
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