Are there still pirates in our straits?

Piracy in the Straits of Singapore and Malacca.

Are there still pirates in our straits?

Bordered by the littoral States of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are important waterways that facilitate international trade since many centuries ago. Today, about forty per cent of the world’s trade passes through the Straits on fifty thousand vessels that ply its waters every year. Due to the busy nature of the Straits and ships carrying a variety of valuable cargo, sometimes valued up to US$136 billion annually, coupled with the presence of shallow reefs and innumerable small islands that compel ships to transit at greatly reduced speed, pirate attacks on merchant ships along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore have been common in the past and Straits territories’ governments remain vigilant of its threats, in modern times.

History

The Straits of Malacca and Singapore have a long recorded history of predatory activities of pirates. The kingdom of Sri Vijaya was the first local kingdom to rule the Strait of Malacca region. With Palembang as its capital city, the kingdom prospered by taking advantage as an international port serving Chinese and Indian markets. The fall of Sri Vijaya in the eleventh century turned the city of Palembang into a pirate haven. Piratical activities were carried out mostly by local Malays as well as Chinese.

*Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli (Ph.D) is a senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and n associate fellow at the Institute of Oceanography and Environment, University Malaysia Terengganu.

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Source: themalaymailonline.com

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