Essay: Contemporary Maritime Issues in the Asia Pacific Region

Pages: 6 (1972 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Maritime Issues in the Asia Pacific region

The security in International maritime terrorism is changing due to the need to counter the threats with different countries getting involved in these strategies by the major seaborne trading countries. These terrorist threats are within the extent on this paper possible attack on a ship or port within the Asia-Pacific area. It does not address on the use of maritime transportation method, neither the supply chain. The transportation includes containers carrying Weapons of Mass Destruction. Rather the focus is on operational deliberations relative to ports and ships. It explains the Sea Lines of Communications security while assessing the overall security of shipping within the Asia-Pacific area. It addresses the different measures by Container Security Initiative (CSI), Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and Custom-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) that prevent the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

Seaborne trade is vital along Asia-Pacific area. This is due to the booming economies due to globalization and the maritime nature surrounding this region. The archipelagic nature around this region adds to its importance around East Asia and Western Pacific. East Asia has no developed transport system except in China and Malay Peninsula, and so foreign trade perforce transports by air or sea. The ports in East Asia are connected via sea and the seaborne trades are of significance. In addition, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia have huge domestic commercial shipping task forces.

Seaborne trades and shipping are vulnerable to terrorist attacks as per many analysts. The evaluation bases on the quantities of consignment involved, International labor force and its shipping's diverse. It is also bases on the poor regulatory environment, difficulties in enforcement, low levels of accountability, cases of documentation fraud, and complicated ownership (OECD, 2003).

Terrorist may take advantage of these weaknesses, and use the sea transportation for their evil aims, or even to launch attack on this infrastructure, causing massive damage or economic disruption. Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and a centre of global maritime terrorism (Banlaoi, 2005).

International maritime security has changed a lot due to the threats on the maritime. There are new counter measures that have brought about additional huge costs on the world transport system, and significant effort by both the government and the industry is vital in order to curb this problem.

Nevertheless, there is no major impact caused by these maritime threats so far on either the pattern or volume of the International seaborne trade. If anything, there is tremendous growth in Asia than ever despite the attacks of the World Centre in 9/11/2001.

Maritime Security

The events that took place on 9/11 and insights on shipping's terrorist attacks caused the federal to review the idea of maritime security. There was the traditional notion of defense forces and the navies protecting the nation. Nevertheless, this idea had to change and an expansion of maritime security seen. The new threats facing piracy and maritime enforced more protection from other departments other than the military forces. International Maritime Organization formed, and directed towards enhancing security along the maritime regions. With the help of other organizations like the International Ship and Port, facility Security (ISPS), stern measures that built both personal and physical security of the ports and ships came up. Bush Administration militarized United States in the Global War on Terror, and it is evident.

The war on Iraq is a clear picture of how terrorist threats were militarized. The issue on the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the support the United States had on Israel attacks are some of the clear methods that support it. Through similar actions, a new maritime strategy is developing through U.S. Navy creating a new maritime dimension. This goes together with the Homeland Security (Christopher P. Cava, 'U.S. Navy Chief calls for New 'Maritime Strategy," Defense News online, June 15, 2006, and Sam Bateman, 'Navies of the World Unite! Will the New U.S. Maritime Strategy Work?', IDSS Commentary 79/2006, Singapore: Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies (IDSS), 11 August 2006 ), and the Maritime will emphasize on international cooperation efficiently encouraging other regions to raise their military spending in order to meet the threat of maritime terrorists. Other than military force, intelligence, diplomacy, community support and education is required.

With the increase in military spending, resources diverted from other resources assists to meet economic, social and educational spending (Tom Quiggin, 'Time for a Different Approach in the War on Terrorism?', IDSS Commentary 82/2006, Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), 15 August 2006. ). There is a notable difference between maritime security and maritime safety although in English language they sound similar.

Maritime violence and other security issues at sea, Proceedings of the Symposium on Maritime Violence and other Security Issues at Sea, August 2002, World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden, p. 28).

Security and safety are not equally exclusive. The IMO changed its motto to 'secure, safe and efficient shipping on clean waters' from 'cleaner oceans, safer ships'. Security in maritime include preventing all forms of illegal activity on sea, and providing more safety in the region. This has brought about more agencies on board to cooperate with maritime security. Most of the navies are not responsible for the security of ships and ports despite their protection for the nation. There are marine guards and police stationed for that duty. There is a clear difference between the military and the police as seen in several countries.

New Threats

The new threats include maritime terrorists and piracy mostly around the Asia-Pacific area. Armed robberies and piracy have an extended history on the Asian waters. There are several reasons that explain this. Firstly, the cases of robbery and piracy lead to higher estimations of higher possibilities of terrorist attacks. Secondly, regions like China, South Korea, and Japan highly depend on energy provisions from Middle East, and so they are concerned on the security of the carriers.

Thirdly, United States has been withdrawing their Navy submarines from the Middle East and they are worried about tactical mobility between Pacific and Indian Ocean. Lastly, there is the power over the sea with United States and other countries using the maritime threat as a reason for them to guard the waterways. The question remains whether the increase in attention is justified. A fall in piracy attacks was noted in 2005 (international Maritime Bureau (IMB), Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships -- Annual Report for the Period 1 January- 31 December 2005,31 January 2006). Most attacks occur at the anchor or on the vessel, and are minor.

Assessing Threat

New acts of maritime terrorists have confirmed with passenger ferries and ships being the preferred targets, Supperferry 14 is one case that sank in Feb 2004 in Manila. One hundred and sixteen people died and it this labeled as the most notorious attack. It is easy to invoke doomsday scenario for a maritime terrorist attack. The terrorist can highjack a ship carrying explosives and use it to blast a port. These rare scenarios can cause indecision between the ship owners and the government. While making assessments, it is vital to consider the extent of damages and the costs in offering the security. They should also include the vulnerability of the targets, terrorists' intentions and capabilities, and repercussions of the attack should it occur.

Terrorist Capabilities

Most maritime terrorist threats are connected too al-Qaida together with their associates. Majority of the groups have their training camps at the Philippines. The ASG group claimed responsibility of Supperferry attack and ferry Dona Ramona showing their vulnerability. In these incidences, the fire and panic cause the damage rather than the bomb. In comparative terms, the maritime attacks are more popular than the air and land attacks. This is despite the port attacks having less impact than the attacks on buildings.

A maritime carrying weapon of mass destruction or used as the bomb is most dangerous. However, the attackers must have a lot of confidence on the success of the attack. An attacker's viewpoint would suggest that hijacking a plane and using it for an attack is easier. An attack on the port may only have an impact on the economic status but not loom huge in the public's eyes. On the attacker's list of targets, maritime may be below the land attack.

Measures to Counter Threat

There has been a global pitching on inducing physical security to ports and ships, enhancing safer documentations, tracking vessels, and assessing the integrity of the cargo. The ISPS code and SOLAS convention are among the measures taken by IMO. Fitting of Ship-borne Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) is mandatory. Tracking of ships through an enhanced introduction of a system that monitors different sizes of ships is vital. Ships hover around the oceans from one system to another. The United States is trying to develop a system that will incorporate current and future observation and tracking funds for over 121000 commercial ships. The database used will be similar to the one used during the cold war.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Contemporary Maritime Issues in the Asia Pacific Region."  Essaytown.com.  April 5, 2013.  Accessed April 22, 2019.
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