Tuesday, January 18, 2011
US Supports Tripartite Malacca Straits Security Arrangements
Source: ANTARA News
Jakarta - The United States supports the existing framework of security arrangements made over the Malacca Straits` littoral countries, the chief the US Pacific naval fleet said.
In July 2004, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore established a cooperation scheme to maintain security in the Malacca Strait. The trilateral coordinated patrol scheme was dubbed MALSINDO Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrols. Since the joint patrols were carried out, the crime rate in the 500-mile long waterway dropped by about 70 percent in 2009.
"I think it`s very important that the existing framework is based on cooperation between related coastal states. As the cooperation continue to function, I think the role that us navy can play here is to support the cooperation by providing exercises or courses needed by the navy of the countries," Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Patrick Walsh said here on Monday during his visit to the National Monument in Central Jakarta.
Walsh said the MALSINDO cooperation framework had proven itself to be effective. "If you look at the amount of piracy that has decline overtime, I can say that the framework has been very successful and working well," he added.
As to US Navy`s cooperation with Indonesia, Walsh said the relation between the two had running very well. "We`ve had many exercises and courses in the past two years. We`ve worked on humanitarian and disaster relief activities. So it`s good to continue and refresh the understanding in the future," he said adding that he was very optimistic about the future of US-Indonesia navy`s relation.
The Malacca Strait is located between Sumatra island and the Malacca peninsula. Some 800 kilometers in length, the strait connects the Indian Ocean (west Asia) and the Pacific Ocean (east Asia) and has been one of the world`s trade center since the era of kingdoms in Indonesia.
The strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with more than 50,000 ships carrying almost one fifth of the world`s trading commodities passing through the area.
Information from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said piracy in the Southeast Asian region had decreased by 70 percent due to the implementation of the joint patrol between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in the Malacca strait since 2004.
Previously holder of the dubious title of number one piracy hot spot, the the Malacca Strait is currently being looked at as a success story in terms of waterway security protection.