Piracy attacks in Indonesia
Piracy attacks in Indonesian waters spiked in 2015, when 108 incidents were reported. One of the most obvious reasons why Southeast Asia’s largest economy has come under threat from maritime crime is the region’s abundance in natural gas and petroleum resources: In 2016, Indonesia was ranked among the world’s largest exporting countries of liquefied natural gas. Moreover, Indonesia’s other main export categories include electronic equipment, electrical appliances and garments. The merchant ships that carry these commodities and consumer goods may need to navigate through one of the world’s narrowest chokepoints: the Strait of Malacca. Predominantly a strategic passage for petroleum and natural gas transport, this trade route is also frequented by ocean freight haulers moving goods from the Persian Gulf to Japan, South Korea and China. As a result, the sea around the archipelago has become a prime target for armed robbery at sea, and recently the pirates have become increasingly successful in outsmarting naval forces by expanding their hunting grounds and moving towards open waters in the east or the along Sumatra’s fragmented coastline in the south. Due to the pirates’ good organization and versatility, incidents of maritime crime off the Indonesian coast increased sevenfold from 2009 to 2013.
The surge in pirate attacks may trigger increased presence by the military forces of affected nations. After all, the costs of piracy inevitably result in higher insurance costs faced by forwarders, rising fuel costs due to higher speed in order to escape the criminals, ransom sums, as well as the growing outlays in wages and salary that need to be paid to armed personnel on ships.