Maritime Security and Piracy

The Common Challanges and Responses from Europe and Asia

Over the past decade, security of the oceans has evolved into one of the key challenges to international security in Asia. While some of the threats to maritime security are not present in Europe geographically and are not as severe as they are in Asia, security of the oceans is of utmost concern to the European Union and the countries in the region.

The first paper by Howard Loewen discusses current security regimes existing in Southeast Asia. It analyzes the recent movements towards more regional cooperation, mainly on piracy and human trafficking, in the sub-region. Loewen argues that the regimes contribute to confidence-building, but that the effectiveness depends on the member states’ interests and the availability of global norms.

The second paper by Lutz Feldt, Peter Roell and Ralph Thiele provides insights into a comprehensive approach. It is argued that threats to maritime security are diverse but interdependent, which makes them difficult to manage. The authors analyze operational requirements for such a comprehensive approach and opportunities for maritime collaboration.

In his article, Hans-Georg Ehrhart takes a close look at the European Union, examining he maritime threats it is facing and the current efforts to ensure the security of the sea lanes of communication. He argues that the European Union and Asian countries should enhance the level of cooperation and provides suggestions for concrete fields of collaboration.

Sam Bateman and Jane Chan examine the situation of good order at sea in Southeast Asia. They argue that such good order does not exist given the many security threats in the regional waters. The situation could be improved significantly through enhanced intraregional cooperation, coordination between agencies and more efficient risk assessment.

In her paper, Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng looks at the regional and extra-regional stakeholders in Southeast Asia. While security strategies have undergone periodic adjustments, cooperation with extra-regional stakeholders has been limited, which resulted in the current complex situation. She argues that technical and financial assistance under the lead of certain regional countries would be a welcomed approach, but it requires strong political will and regional leadership.

Tetsuo Kotani provides a Northeast Asian perspective on the fight against piracy in the Strait of Malacca and discusses challenges in the East China Sea, including the island disputes. He shows how the differences in the interpretation of UNCLOS and the strategies of the countries influence the current situation.

Vijay Sakhuja analyzes the challenges and threats in the Indian Ocean, which is the connecting SLOC between the choke points at the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca. Sakhuja then provides insights into the existing multilateral approaches in South Asia and offers recommendations for possible future cooperation between the European Union and the countries in the region.

The last two papers of this publication examine the situation in two of the key countries in Southeast Asia which are both not members of ReCAAP, but nevertheless cooperate closely with their neighbour Singapore.


Patrick Rüppel


Singapore, January 2, 2014