Indonesian beaches are known to be serene and gorgeous, visited by tourists from around the world who look for a relaxing vacation. However, what lies beyond those pretty shores are quite petrifying to think of, because more and more pirates are lurking each year in Indonesian waters.
‚ÄúThe World‚Äôs Most Dangerous Waters‚Äù was a title given to Indonesian seas on the piracy subject, according to a¬†Forbes report.¬†This is due to a rising pirate attacks in Indonesian waters. Although global piracy is witnessing a decline, Indonesian seas are suffering from the opposite. In 2012, 297 pirate attacks occurred worldwide, out of which 81 occurred in Indonesia‚Äôs waters and 75 in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden.
According to the Piracy Reporting Centre, Indonesia was the global leader in sea piracy with 25 incidents out of 66 worldwide in the first quarter of 2013. The¬†total number of pirate attacks¬†worldwide has fallen from 177 in first half of 2012 to 138 in the first half of 2013, according to research by the International Chamber of Commerce‚Äôs Internal Maritime Bureau (IMB). During the same period, attacks in Indonesia have grown by 50%. A spokesperson for the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) said that pirate attacks are scattered over a few locations but the waters surrounding Riau are at risk the most. Indonesia‚Äôs Tanjung Priok, Dumaim Belawan, Taboneo and Muara Jawa have been marked as¬†hot beds for pirate attacks.
The number of pirate attack cases in Indonesia has been on the rise since 2009. Author of a book on Indonesian piracy, Eric Fr√©con, suggested that pirates have shifted from their traditional bases in Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia. The prime targets of these¬†attacks in these Southeast Asian seas¬†are the commercial vessels, but unfortunately law enforcement is too weak to deter these attacks. In order to reduce the number of pirate attacks in the Strait of Malacca, patrol boats have been in place and successful at keeping pirate attacks at bay at one of the busiest shipping lanes in Asia.
However, it would be incorrect to say that the pirate situation has indeed worsened in Indonesia, because it is difficult to compare with other regions such as East Africa due to the unique nature of the attacks.¬†Piracy incidents in Indonesia¬†are less alarming than those occurring in other regions. Common weapons of choice for these pirates are knives and machetes. First half of 2013 saw 7 victims of hostages by pirates in Indonesia, while in Malaysia it is reported to be 16. Moreover, in comparison to Africa, more people became the victims of pirate attacks.
The pirate attacks on Indonesian waters are very low-level opportunistic crimes, there are very few serious cases, and most involve robberies. In spite of Indonesia protecting its seas, one factor, which gives rise to these attacks, is the lack of law enforcement present in waters. When they are, the patrol ships are too big to follow pirates through the mangroves where they hide. Even if patrol boats chase after them, the small size is not adequately equipping the patrol boat to take down those pirate ships.