Improving Maritime Security in the apec region: a perspective from the Federation of asean shipowners’ Associations (fasa)

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Improving Maritime Security in the APEC Region: A Perspective from the

Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Associations (FASA)


Mr. Carlos C. Salinas

Chairman, Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' Associations (FASA)

at the

3rd APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting

in Lima, Peru on 5-6 May 2002


The Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' Associations (FASA) is greatly honored to be invited to address this meeting of the APEC Ministerial Transportation Working Group. The ASEAN countries are an active and important cornerstone of the APEC region, and hold a keen interest in maritime security issues in particular because most ASEAN members have long-standing maritime interests within the interceding sea areas. Moreover, the ASEAN region is also the focal point of maritime trade between Asia and the Pacific, with most ASEAN members located around or astride major strategic maritime trade routes.

Although shipping is a global business, a large and vital part of it passes through this region. FASA is comprised of the national ship-owners' associations of seven (7) ASEAN countries,1 and is a forum for its members to come together and express their views on regional and international maritime issues. These views are based on practical and operational considerations from a private ship-owner's perspective. By participating in this APEC forum, the FASA hopes to be able to provide a sound perspective on the issues of maritime security within the ASEAN region and as they affect the larger interests of APEC.
Maritime Trade Activities in APEC

The Pacific Ocean and the adjacent seas around which APEC members are located are historically active maritime trading grounds. The Pacific Ocean links the American and Asian continents, and much of the shipping passes through the seas of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia. Without needing to over-emphasize the matter, the maritime transport sector's role in international trade is highlighted by the fact that eighty percent (80%) of the world's goods are moved by sea. As previously noted in another paper,2 since about 43.85% of world trade takes place within APEC,3 much of this is borne by maritime commerce.

Maritime trade within APEC makes use of identifiable maritime trade routes based on traditional sea routes used by mariners since they were opened in the 1600s by European trading ships. The industrialized economies of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Eastern China now act as the most powerful "magnets" for raw materials from around the world, and also are the main sources of manufactured goods seeking the markets in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.

Oil tankers from the Middle East travel through the Indian Ocean and enter the Straits of Malacca from the Andaman Sea, and once past Singapore have the option of turning northward into the South China Sea and onward to South Chinese ports, or continuing into the Straits of Makassar for access to the open seas of the Pacific and to the East Asian coast.4 Bulk carriers carrying iron ore from Australia proceed through the Indonesian archipelagic waters to markets in South China, Korea, or Japan.5 Coal from Australia traverses similar routes, or take a longer way around the eastern side of the Indonesian archipelago, while coal from the United States proceeds through the Pacific toward Japan and Korea.6 Grain from the United States may also set sail from the West Coast, or from the southern ports along the Gulf of Mexico and going through the Panama Canal.7 In exchange for raw materials, manufactured goods or other raw materials from the export-oriented economies of Asia then proceed along roughly reciprocal paths.

To welcome or send off these trading ships, at least four (4) major Hub Ports have developed that have become the center of activity for containerized traffic. These Hub Ports then connect the traffic with other ports in the region or directly to land-based or air transportation networks. Singapore and Hong Kong currently comprise the two largest Hub Ports, able to transship more than 17 million TEUs and distribute them as required throughout the region; Pusan and Kaoshiung are the next largest hubs with a capacity for about 7 million TEUs each.8 Seeing the massive economic potential in operating these hubs, other countries have begun upgrading several of their port areas in a race to draw away some of the profitable container traffic. China is already well into a serious upgrading of the ports of Shanghai and Shenzen,9 while Malaysia is improving Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas to handle larger volumes of container through-put.10

From the location of the maritime trade routes and major Hub Ports, it becomes immediately apparent that the Southeast Asian region is also the area of convergence of most of maritime traffic in APEC, particularly through the strategic Southeast Asian straits running through Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Surrounding these straits are equally congested waters of South China Sea, Philippine and Indonesian archipelagic waters, which host not only commercial traffic but also the traditional fisheries upon which Southeast Asians have relied for decades. The littoral areas of the South China Sea also support an emerging oil and gas industry which will play a vital role in their respective owners' economies in the next few decades.

Maritime Security Threats

For shipowners, the security of their vessels may be threatened by criminal or terrorist elements either in port or at sea. The degree to which the vessel may be threatened depends on several key factors. One of these is a high degree of congestion of maritime traffic, which will necessarily limit a vessel's ability to maneuver to avoid a threatening vessel, or provide cover for the perpetrators' assault. Another is the accessibility of the vessel itself to the shore, as by returning to the land the perpetrators may find refuge or escape from law enforcement units. The proximity of the vessel to coastal settlements may also be a factor, as the perpetrators may use the settlements as their base of operations and then disappear into the local population once their deeds are done. The lack of visible maritime law enforcement patrols also plays an important factor, as deterrence is a key element in preventing the conduct of any criminal activities whether on land or sea.

These factors are all present within the congested waters within the ASEAN region, and thus provide the basis for FASA's concerns. Indeed, these factors may allow the conduct of a wide range of illegal maritime activities, from simple one-man armed robbery at sea incidents to full-blown terrorist attacks as horrifying as the World Trade Center attacks.

At present, the most pressing and direct threats to maritime security at sea for shipowners are:

  • Piracy and Sea Robbery;

  • Maritime Terrorism;

  • Other maritime crimes, such as the use of "phantom ships" and cargo fraud or charter party fraud.

There are also other threats to the security of shipping operations, which include other illegal activities such as:

  • smuggling of goods,

  • illegal migration, and

  • drug-trafficking by sea.

Piracy and Sea Robbery

For several years prior to the World Trade Center attacks, piracy and sea robbery took the center stage of concern for the maritime states of APEC. This concerns the conduct of criminal activity against vessels, which ordinary persons consider under the general term "piracy." However, as borne by experience of countries in recent years, for legal purposes it is necessary to distinguish between piracy and sea robbery. The International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center, a private organization created by the International Chamber of Commerce to monitor piracy incidents all over the world, defines "piracy" as

“an act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act”.11

The foregoing definition is useful for operational purposes, particularly in monitoring the incidence of attacks. For prosecution purposes, however, it is important to consider the location of the incident in order that the appropriate legal response can be made. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, piracy is defined as follows:

“Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b).”12

This is distinguished by the IMO from sea robbery, or armed robbery against ships, which is tentatively defined as:

“Armed robbery against ships means any unlawful act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of “piracy”, directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such ship, within a State’s jurisdiction over such offences.”13

Whether the crime is committed within national territorial waters or outside such waters determines the jurisdiction and penal laws applicable against the offender; this will affect the legally permissible measures against the offender as well as the entitlement to the right to prosecute.

Last year, at the 74th session of the MSC, it was noted that maritime piracy attacks in the year 2000 increased by more than 50% over the previous year, numbering 469 incidents.14 Piracy incidents continue to be reported daily to the IMB without signs of slowing down. The IMO also noted the increasing severity of violence of the attacks, resulting in more injuries and fatalities in recent years.

Piracy and sea robbery may be committed in port while the vessel is berthed, at anchor, or while it is underway. In the first two instances, the vessel is surreptitiously boarded while it is stationary, allowing the perpetrating to commit acts of thievery or robbery. While underway, the vessel may be subjected to a short-term seizure lasting a few hours while the pirates take cargo or belongings; a long-term seizure lasting several days while the cargo is unloaded at ports selected by the pirate or transferred to another vessel; or a permanent seizure wherein the vessel is turned into a "phantom ship" (explained later in this paper). Unfortunately, in the latter two types of seizures, crews are most likely to be killed, or if they are lucky, set adrift at sea.15

Maritime Terrorism

In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center in September 11, 2001, the nations of the world have been galvanized against the threat posed by modern-day terrorism. This has led to a flurry of activities aimed at reviewing security issues in a new light, and to respond to new challenges that have revealed themselves within the last decade. Regional organizations and arrangements like ASEAN, the European Community, and APEC have urgently tabled discussions on the crafting of measure that will deter violent attacks against and onboard ships and thereby reduce the risks to passengers, crew, and port personnal as well as to cargoes and vessels. Individual states have commenced internal exercises to assess national capability to prevent as well as respond to terrorist attacks.

Maritime terrorism has become the focus of attention specially among maritime nations, with the advent of the 9/11 attack which demonstrated that ordinary means of transportation can be turned into lethal weapons of terror in the hands of determined terrorists. However, a satisfactory and universally acceptable definition of "terrorism" itself has yet to be agreed upon and written into international law, considering that the essential elements of the act's ability to induce "terror," as well as the audience to such inducement is addressed, are highly subjective matters.

UN General Assembly Resolution No. 51/210 generally describes terrorism as the commission of "criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons, or particular persons for political purposes." Setting aside political and ideological considerations, this definition suffices for the layman and permits a distinction between maritime terrorism and maritime piracy, even though the overt acts against a vessel may be outwardly the same. After all, there are only a few ways to board a ship and a limited categories of criminal offenses that can be committed thereon

Maritime terrorism has a political objective of inducing a government or a population to take a particular course of action with respect to their country's policies or programs. Maritime piracy, on the other hand, is purely for the purpose of personal gain; there is no political agenda behind the pirate's activities. In one sense, maritime terrorism is a means of engaging in psychological warfare against a state or its constituents, while maritime piracy is purely and simply a criminal activity for the personal benefit or profit of the offender.

The Achille Lauro Incident is probably the best known of maritime terrorist incidents, and perhaps the only type of incident that most people associate with the term. This incident took place in 1985, when the cruise liner Achille Lauro was hijacked, and its crew and passengers held hostage. In the course of the hijacking, a disabled American passenger was killed and his body and his wheelchair thrown into the sea, under the full view of the press. Despite this, however, the perpetrators ultimately failed in their objectives, as they were captured through US military intervention when they were fleeing on board a commercial jetliner.

However, in a recent discussion by the Maritime Cooperation Working Group of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific,16 it was emphasized that maritime terrorism takes on many more forms. The Philippine delegate delivered the main discussion paper, and reviewed 18 maritime terrorist attacks committed since 1993 and reported by the US Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism.

Maritime terrorism has been committed on board vessels or fixed platforms, such as the vicious armed attacks against Chinese, Indonesian and Korean vessels near Sri Lanka in 1997 resulting in the loss of the vessels, and the several hostage-taking incidents on a Shell oil-drilling platform in Nigerian waters in 1999. The vessel may itself be the weapon used against another, as happened in the year 2000 in Yemen when the USS Cole was severely damaged by suicide bombers using a small dinghy to come into direct contact with the American navy destroyer. They have also been perpetrated against ports or coastal facilities, such as the bombing of two tourist resorts in Turkey in 1994, armed raids against two fishing villages in Cambodia in 1998, or the kidnapping of foreigners in Sipadan Island in 1999.17 In these instances, maritime terrorism has been committed using small arms, grenade and rocket launchers, or other improvised weapons that have been in common use in land-based terrorist activities. Bombs of various types may also be used and concealed in cargo or baggage, and timed to detonate while in port or when it is already inside a vessel and at sea.

But the most terrifying maritime terrorism scenarios do not involve just these deadly items. One possible scenario is the deliberate collision of a passenger vessel against another vessel, resulting in great civilian casualties. Another is the deliberate collision of a laden VLCC, oil tanker, or LPG carrier, in an area such as the Malacca Straits, causing undescribeable damage to the marine environment. Another is the detonation of a vessel laden with explosive or volatile cargo within any of the many port cities of the world.

Phantom Ships

The problem of "phantom ships" is particularly challenging in Southeast Asia, where there are many small operators of vessels. "Phantom ships" are basically vessels with false identities, their registration papers having been falsified or forged, or false information on their tonnage, dimensions, and previous ownership having been entered into their records. Owners of "phantom ships" are usually shelf companies, which quickly disappear once they are detected, or after they receive large payments.18

"Phantom ships" are used in various maritime criminal activities, such as to conduct piratical attacks, or smuggling goods and people in the region. Vessels permanently seized by pirates usually become "phantom ships."19 "Phantom ships" can be used as a cover for criminal elements to evade law enforcement.

Cargo Fraud / Charter Party Fraud

Cargo fraud happens when cargo is legitimately taken on board the vessel, but is later diverted to other destinations where it is sold off to other parties. This was common in the 1980s and continues to this day. Charter party fraud, on the other hand, often involves a shelf company setting up shop in order to secure a charter on the basis of cheap advertised rates. Fees are collected in advance, and the vessels loads up and sails with legitimately documented cargo. Once the vessel is well under way, however, the company folds up and the criminals disappear.20

Other illegal activities

Smuggling of Goods

Smuggling has been one of the oldest of maritime crimes. However, with the advent of containerized shipping, smuggling of goods has adapted and now container manipulation is a major feature of this type of crime. There are many ways by which containers can be manipulated, including:

  • Substitution of legitimate cargo with contraband

  • Mixing bogus shipments with legitimate ones

  • Packing a container with legitimate cargo in front and contraband at the back

  • Hiding contraband inside legitimate cargo

  • Consecutive transfer of ownership, to mask the vessel's country of origin.

Smuggling of People

In recent years, smuggling has turned to the illicit transport of not just goods, but also people. People from less developed countries, or countries under severe economic difficulties, are particularly susceptible to become illegal migrants through this means. People-smugglers find no need to comply any of the safety requirements for vessels,21 and there have been instances in the past when ships carrying prospective migrants are simply abandoned by the crews and left adrift.22

Illegal drug-trafficking

Illegal drug-traffic by sea is of particular concern in this region. World-wide trafficking in illicit substances has been estimated to be in the vicinity of US$300 Billion per year.23 No less than the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in its resolution 43/5 entitled "Enhancing multilateral cooperation in combating illicit traffic by sea" issued in March 2000, recognized the increasing prevalence of illicit traffic by sea of narcotic drugs and psychotrophic substances, and called upon all governments to develop regional agreements against this threat.24 Philippines law enforcement units have had to deal with at least one modus operandi for these illegal activities, wherein drug-smuggling vessels to keep at sea and instead of coming into port, offload illegal cargo to smaller vessels at pre-arranged places and times.25

Simultaneous Maritime Threats

One distinctive feature of maritime threats is the possibility that they may be inter-locking in nature and more often than not, any given incident may represent the simultaneous occurrence of several of the above maritime threats. The case of the M/V Alondra Rainbow is a very good example.

The M/V Alondra Rainbow was a Panamanian vessel loaded with 7000 metric tones of aluminum ingots sailing from Kuala Lumpur to Japan in October 1999. Shortly after departure, it was attacked and seized by a gang of pirates. The crew members were threatened with death and forcibly transferred to another ship. After being held captive for a week, they were set adrift on a life raft. It was only ten days later that they were rescued by a fishing boat. In the meantime, the Alondra Rainbow was repainted and renamed the Global Venture, and part of the cargo was transferred to another vessel which proceeded to discharge it elsewhere. Thereafter, the name of the vessel was changed from Global Venture to Mega Rama flying the Belize flag. About 40% of its cargo was diverted and sold by pirates, and it might have been completely disposed of, had the ship not been recognized, then later intercepted and arrested by the Indian Coast Guard a few weeks later in November 1999.

From this brief case study, it can be seen that the Alondra Rainbow was subjected to piracy, became phantom ship, and engaged in cargo fraud, all within a matter of a few weeks.

Potential Impact of Threats

Direct Effects

The potential impacts of these maritime security threats will depend on the location and types of vessel involved. Needless to say, these effects of a single incident can be enormous and at one to several levels.

First is the potential loss of life. More than 72 lives have been lost just in the last three (3) years just to piracy and sea robbery incidents all over the world, with scores more injured.26 The MSC at its 74th Session in 2001 expressed that it was extremely concerned that in the 2000, the crews of the ships involved in the reported piracy incidents had been violently attacked by groups of five to ten persons carrying knives or guns as a result of which seventy-two crew members had been killed, one hundred and twenty-nine had been wounded and five had been reported missing.27 There are still many other casualties arising from illegal migration, drug-trafficking, or other illegal maritime activities which are unaccounted for.

Second is the property damage, chiefly through damage done to the vessel, but which may also be inflicted on cargo. The MSC also voiced its concern during its 74th Session that in addition to the crews killed or injured in piratical attacks, one ship had been destroyed, two ships had been hijacked, three ships had gone missing and on three occasions the attackers had used explosive devices.28 The maritime terrorist activities in in 1999, for example, resulted in the complete destruction of innocent vessels.29

And lastly, environmental damage may result depending on the size and cargo of the victim-vessel. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has repeatedly called attention to the potential environmental damage that can be caused by an Exxon Valdez type of incident within the strategic Southeast straits. Not only would natural flora and fauna be affected, but more particularly coastal communities with artisanal fishers who may be dependent on traditional fishing methods for their sustenance.30

Indirect Effects

In order to respond to the threats, ships may require new equipment to assist in the monitoring and surveillance, as well as to act as preventive measures. For example, transponders are now available which can regularly provide updated information on the ship's location via GPS, and are being promoted to assist in the prevention and resolution of piracy cases by permitting the ship-owner to know exactly where his vessel is located at any given moment.

The occurrence of any of the named threats causing damage to life and property is also likely to have a chilling effect on other maritime traders, encouraging them to seek passage in other routes. Limitation of the possible route selections will impose additional costs on shipping which have to be borne by higher commodity prices.31

Different countries will experience different degrees of impacts depending on the extensiveness of their reliance on unimpeded passage through the strategic waters of the region. It has been calculated that Japan, for example, will suffer enormous losses if its tankers are unable to pass through either the Straits of Malacca or the Indonesian archipelagic waters. In the case of the former, rerouting of the tankers will take 3 more days and require 15 more tankers in order to supply Japanese requirements, while in the second case, a rerouting will require 2 more weeks and 80 additional tankers. Japanese financial losses would amount to between US$ 88 Million if the Straits of Malacca are closed, or up to a staggering US$ 1.2 Billion if the Indonesian archipelagic waters are rendered impassable for any reason.32

A disruption of the activity undertaken in any of the major hub ports will also severely affect the smaller "feeder" ports to which the hubs are linked. Closure of the Singapore Port Authority, for example, with its handling of millions of cargo containers everyday, on account of a terrorist attack will be likely to cripple maritime trade in the region. Hub Ports are indeed strategic points in the APEC marine transportation network.

Piracy and Sea Robbery

The world maritime industry, under the auspices of the IMO, has been very active in attempting to respond to the maritime security needs as identified since the 1980s. IMO Resolution Nos. A.545(13) and A.584(14) are long-standing resolutions providing for protective measures. Resolution A.54(13) deals with measures to prevent acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, to address specific problems relating to piracy and armed robbery. Resolution A.584(14) provides for measures to prevent unlawful acts which threaten the safety of ships and the security of passengers and their crew. It notes "with great concern the danger to passengers and crew resulting from the increasing number of incidents of piracy, armed robbery, and other unlawful acts against or onboard ships, including small craft, both at anchor and under way." The resolution invited the MSC to develop detailed and practical technical measures to ensure the security of passengers and crews on board ships, taking into the account the work of the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO) in the development of standards and recommended practices for airport and aircraft security.

Revised MSC Circ 622 provide recommendations to governments on possible countermeasures against pirates and robbers, while Revised MSC Circ 623 gives further recommendations to ship-owners, ship-operators, masters, and crew. In June 2001, a draft Assembly Resolution for a Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships was submitted for adoption by the IMO on its 22nd Session. 33

There has also been a flurry of international activities brought to bear on the issue of piracy and sea robbery in the last few years. Japan spearheaded a series of international conferences and meetings to discuss the piracy and sea robbery threat, and is presently leading in the negotiation of a Regional Convention for Anti-Piracy Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Two high-level international conferences on combating piracy and armed robbery were held in Tokyo in March and April 2000 and resulted in the endorsement of the Tokyo Appeal and the adoption of the “Asia Anti-Piracy Challenges 2000”, and a Model Action Plan. The ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Anti-Piracy was held in India in October 2000, and an Experts Meeting on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships was held in Malaysia in November 2000. The South-East Asian Programme in Ocean Law, Policy and Management (SEAPOL) Inter-Regional Conference on Ocean Governance and Sustainable Development in the East and Southeast Asian Seas: Challenges in the New Millennium (Thailand, 21-23 March 2001) devoted one of its sessions to piracy and law enforcement, to discuss legal issues in piracy control, and piracy and the challenge of cooperative security and enforcement policy.34

Illegal Migration

In 1998, the IMO had approved MSC Circ 896 prescribing interim measures to combat unsafe practices in the illegal trafficking or transport of migrants by sea. This was revised and updated in June 2001 as MSC Circ 896/Rev. 1. Some provisions of MSC Circ 896 eventually were reflected in the "Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea," supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.35

Illegal Drug-Trafficking By Sea

In 1997, the IMO had adopted guidelines for the prevention and suppression of smuggling of drugs, psychotrophic substances, and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime trade. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs issued Resolution 43/5, entitled "Enhancing multi-lateral cooperation in combating illicit trafficking by sea" in March 2000. This recognized the increasing prevalence of using the sea as a means for transporting illegal drugs and called on all states to cooperate in negotiating agreements to facilitate the suppression of maritime drug-trafficking.

Maritime Terrorism

In response to the Achille Lauro Incident, in December 1985, the UN General Assembly called upon the IMO "to study the problem of terrorism aboard or against ships with a view to making recommendations on appropriate measures." In September 1986, the MSC approved MSC/Circ. 443 on measures to prevent unlawful acts against passengers and crew on board ships, intended for application to passenger ships engaged in international voyages of 24 hours or more and port facilities which service them. The measures state that governments, port authorities, administrations, shipowners, shipmasters, and crews should take appropriate measures to prevent unlawful acts which may threaten passengers and crews. The measures stress the need for port facilities and individual ships to have a security plan and appoint a security officer. The measures describe in detail the way in which security surveys should be conducted and the security measures and procedures which should be adopted. Another section covers security training.

In March 1988, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, and its Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (a.k.a. SUA Conventions) were opened for signature in Rome. The main purpose is to ensure that appropriate action is taken against persons committing unlawful acts against ships and fixed platforms, which include seizure of ships by force, acts of violence against persons onboard ships, and placing of devices onboard a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it. They include provisions for the absolute and unconditional application of the principle either to punish or to extradite persons who commit or who are alleged to have committed offenses specified in the conventions. Both instruments entered into force on March 1, 1992; to date, however, these conventions have been ratified by only 67 countries.

MSC Circ 754 issued in 1996 further provides guidance on passenger ferry security. In October 2001, the Legal Committee of the IMO agreed to include the review of the above treaties as a priority work item in its work program for 2002-2003.36 At the 22nd Meeting of the Assembly in the following month of November, a decision was made calling for an Intersessional Working Group on Maritime Security, the creation of a fourth working group at MSC 75, and the convening of an IMO Conference on Maritime Security to be held in conjunction with MSC 7 in December 2002.

Many non-government multi-lateral initiatives such as the Council on Security Cooperation in Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) have also placed terrorism as a priority agenda items for their discussions. Last February 2002, the Maritime Cooperation Working Group of CSCAP met in Seoul, Korea and held a session specifically dealing with maritime terrorism, and produced a Statement Against Maritime Terrorism, which is intended to be submitted for consideration by the ASEAN Regional Forum.

A number of proposals for counter-measures against maritime terrorism have been submitted for consideration by the IMO, upon the initiative of the United States at the Intersessional Working Group meeting held last February 2002. These measures consist of several types of security requirements and guidelines. In general, there are four primary components as follows:

A. Ships

1. an accelerated implementation schedule for Automatic Identification Systems on existing cargo ships;

2. amendments to SOLAS Chapter XI, including a new proposed International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities;

3. proposed new requirements for

a. Ship Security Plans integrated into the ISM Code;

b. Ship Security Officer, possibly through the ISM Code; and

c. Company Security Officer.

4. the desirability of transparency of ownership and control of vessels;

5. providing a capability for seafarers to activate an alarm in case of a terrorist hijacking

6. enhancement of ship security equipment

B. Cargo

1. inspection of containers and other units of cargo transport

2. port-of-origin container examinations

C. Port Facility

1. proposed new requirements for:

a. Port Security Officer;

b. Port Facility Security Plans; and

c. Port Vulnerability Assessment.

2. Maritime security equipment to prevent unauthorized boarding in ports and at sea

D. Personnel

1.urgent action on a revised Seafarer Identification Document, as advocated by the International Labor Organization (ILO)

Elaboration on these proposals will be made at the 75th Session of the MSC to be held in May 2002. As noted, the IMO will additionally convene an IMO Conference on Maritime Security that will take place in conjunction with MSC 76 in December 2002.

Individual countries have also initiated their own national efforts. The United States, for example, is also implementing its own counter-terrorism measures in American ports in the wake of 9/11. Closer vessel traffic monitoring systems are to be set in place, and a "sea marshall" program that was tested in San Francisco before 9/11 is to be expanded to all ports of call of foreign vessels. "Sea marshals" shall conduct inspections of foreign vessels intending to call on American ports.

As another example, the Philippines has initiated internal exercises to assess national capability to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. A National Conference Workshop on Transnational Crimes was held in February 2002, and the Institute of International Legal Studies of the prestigious University of the Philippines conducted a Workshop on Maritime Security: Challenges and Approaches in April 2002. The results of these exercises are expected to find their way into the formulation of national policis and advocacy positions that the country may pursue in the international maritime community.
FASA's Approach

The maritime industry recognizes the need to seriously consider proposals for enhancing maritime security, specially since it quite vulnerable to the maritime threats already identified. The loss of any crew, cargo, or vessel, singly or in concert, tends to have multiple negative effects on industry operators, thus it is prudent to ensure that such losses are prevented as much as possible .

The measures that have been proposed are presently being analyzed and discussed by each one of the FASA members. The challenge, however, is how to have effective maritime security measures that will secure ships and ports from identified threats, while preserving the efficiencies and benefits of the existing system.

Important Factors

There are at least two factors which will be important to FASA in its consideration of any proposed measures.

Impact on Operational Requirements

The first factor is the extent to which such measures will interface with the operational requirements of the maritime trading business. Enhanced maritime security need not result for a multiplicity of measures. The number of maritime threats as described here need to be addressed in an integrated manner so as to prevent redundant or overlapping requirements which will hamper the efficiency of maritime trade.

Enhanced maritime security need not impede maritime trading systems or increase operating costs. Efficiency is a highly valued factor in the maritime trading business, as compliance with the principle of "just in time" could spell the difference between viability and bankruptcy. Any security measures must consider also its impact on the operational efficiency of maritime transport.

Enhanced maritime security cannot be the responsibility of the maritime industry alone. The maritime industry cannot be expected to bear the sole burden of ensuring maritime security, and governments must do their share in providing effective support and engendering a safe and secure industrial setting for operation. The industry's "self-help" measures are no substitute for an active and efficient government framework that ensure visible law enforcement and swift response to maritime security threats when they arise.

Meaningful Participation of ASEAN Countries and Industries

The second factor that FASA will consider carefully will be the ability of ASEAN countries to meaningfully participate and effectively implement the proposed measures. Differences in technological capabilities, economic situation, access to human resources, and governance systems obviously will affect the implementation of any international security measures and requirements that are agreed upon. Years of experience have taught us repeatedly that capacity to implement must first be ensured before rules or regulations can be enforced and effective; thus questions of national capacity will be a key factor in FASA's decision-making and advocacy regarding all proposed security measures.

To complement government regulation, there must also be meaningful participation on the part of the maritime industries in the design and implementation of measures in each of the ASEAN countries. Many of the ASEAN countries' respective maritime industries are relatively undeveloped and still struggling to keep abreast of rapid changes in maritime industrial technologies and global market conditions. The imposition of inappropriate measures that do not take account of the situation of the maritime industry have the potential of stunting or reversing the delicate pace of growth in the industry in these developing countries.

It is important to keep in mind that there is a very wide variation in the government systems and industry situations between the maritime industries of the developed and developing world. These variations can spell the difference between the success and failure of each of the measures proposed. Thus, it is vital that due regard be given towards meaningful and effective participation by ASEAN countries and their maritime industries in any effort toward creating a responsive and relevant maritime security regime.

Basic Parameters

The shipping industry fully supports and recognizes the pre-eminent role of the IMO as the international agency that should lead in the initiative to obtain international agreements on the various recommendations and proposals that are presently on the table. Other relevant international organizations should collaborate with the IMO in enhancing maritime security. The challenge for IMO is indeed complex as coordination with other important governmental, inter-governmental, regional, and non-governmental organizations becomes imperative. For example, closer coordination with the International Labor Organization (ILO) is needed in the matter of the Seafarer's Identity Document Convention (No. 108). The initiatives of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and other similar organizations should also be seen as important inputs to the work being developed by IMO.

All governments should cooperate with the IMO in securing the best practicable degree of uniformity in approaches and procedures with respect to security-related issues. We may begin with promoting universal adoption of related international treaties. Based on records, the ratification of IMO instruments which address the problems of transnational crimes like piracy and terrorism have not been very encouraging thus far; hopefully, the events of 9/11 have created greater interest.

Security measures for the shipping industry should be eminently clear with respect to requirements related to vessels, crews, passengers, shippers, and consignees and their agents, as well as other parties who may be involved such as terminal operators, and even road and rail carriers who deliver goods for carriage on board vessels. These security requirements should be uniformly applied and enforced without discrimination in the international community, but also take into the account the level and probability of threats that must be addressed in each situation. Likewise, the world shipping industry should cooperate in promoting awareness for maritime security.

Security measures should also address issues of port security, as well as liaison between the ship and the port in security matters. Enhancing maritime security at the port will be pivotal to maritime security at sea, since the port is a major strategic point for intervention and for prevention of the successful execution of maritime security threats.

The Overriding Need for Cooperation

It would not be amiss to emphasize the overriding need for cooperation between private sector and government, and among all governments in the region. Again, the case of the M/V Alondra Rainbow best exemplifies the potential of international, public and private sector cooperation.

When the M/V Alondra Rainbow was hijacked, details of the missing vessel were given to the Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, a private organization. A message was then broadcast to all ships in the area via the INMARSAT, an international organization providing communication services to the shipping industry. This was followed by an alert sent to all ports, law enforcement agencies, and other relevant agencies in the region. Within two weeks, various ship masters helped to locate the Alondra Rainbow by reporting the sighting of a ship matching its description. This information was passed on to the Piracy Reporting Center, which in turn passed it on to the law enforcement agency nearest to the ship sighting along with a photograph of the vessel. The Indian Coast Guard, which was in the best position, sent a patrol aircraft to search for the vessel, and then once located, dispatched a patrol vessel as soon as the purported identity of the vessel (then already under a different name) was verified. When the hijacked ship attempted to evade the Coast Guard vessel by fleeing to the high seas, the Indian Navy was called into action to intercept, and was able to being the chase to an end. The ship was boarded, the pirate crew arrested, and brought to an Indian port for investigation, detention, and for later prosecution

It can be gleaned from above that indeed, the inter-locking and simultaneous maritime threats that exist in the region require an equally inter-locking and simultaneous response from the public and private sectors of all countries.


Considering that the 75th Session of the MSC is scheduled in the same month as this 3rd APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting, it would interesting to see what decisions will finally be made on the above proposed measures. However, at this point it would also be a good idea for APEC to consider the following suggestions that have been made in other forums, so that they can be subject to preliminary or preparatory studies by the various nations:

1. There should be a unified and well-coordinated strategy to be adopted by all countries to address the cross-cutting issues and common interests in maritime security. This strategy must be able to address all identified threats efficiently and equally, since in many instances, the modes for addressing one type of threat is also the same mode that will be used against another. It must also be able to adapt to the varied and changing maritime security situation in different parts of the world, taking account of the countries available resources and capabilities. However, this strategy must allow for the most efficient flow of trade, without sacrificing the requirements of safe and secure shipping.

2. There should be clear, mandatory rules identifying and making accountable each responsible person in the transportation of goods through the seas, to the end that security is enhanced not only in disparate points or venues, but all throughout the marine transportation system. The government, private sector, and international community must equitably contribute their respective roles and responsibilities.

3. International cooperation should be pursued in enhancing the security of the entire international supply chain, so that maritime security can be complemented with security on the land and air transportation systems to which they may be linked. Maritime security cannot be the burden of the maritime industry alone, as the industry is in many instances closely linked with other industries and transportation sectors. Such measures must allow for the most efficient flow of trade through all interconnected modes of transport, and thus must consider maritime transportation similarly with other modes international transport and the people they employ. One key to implementing this multi-modal security system is the development of efficient methods of handling information on cargoes, typically based on a single point of lodgement of information, through the use of existing electronic systems.

4. Particular emphasis should be given to capacity-building in the developing countries of the ASEAN region which could be most vulnerable to the maritime threats, specially in the fields of facilitating the exchange of information; enhancing vigilance through customs and quarantine controls and other port security measures; using the latest technologies to enhance surveillance of maritime traffic; and increasing the effectiveness and response of law enforcement units to maritime security threats. Expectations to bring about a successful response to the threats of maritime security may depend on the ability to broker the flow of technical assistance to developing maritime economies. Ship security may also be one of the subjects of the human resource development activities recommended in the previous paper.37


It is hoped that this paper has at least enlightened the participants present on the several and inter-related maritime security threats that ship-owners' face today, and the efforts to build consensus on a number of proposed responses. But more than the ability to secure consensus of support for measures to prevent acts of piracy, terrorism, or other maritime threats, equally serious effort must be put in to accordingly implement whatever is adopted. Hopefully, the governments of the APEC economies can come to helpful agreements and arrangements for mutual cooperation and assistance that will enable us all to continue benefiting from the maritime trade that is one of the real pillars of our regional economic cooperation.

- o O o -

1 Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam

2 Salinas, C. "Human Resource Development for Marine Transportation in the APEC Region, A Philippine Perspective. " Also presented at the 3rd APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting.

3 APEC Secretariat, APEC Homepage (online) at

4 Based on Akimoto, Kazumine, "Rerouting Options and Consequences", paper presented at the Conference on the Strategic Importance of Seaborne Trade and Shipping, held in Canberra, Australia on 3-4 April 2001.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Rimmer, Peter. "Commercial Shipping Patterns in the Asia-Pacific, 1990-2000", paper presented at the Conference on the Strategic Importance of Seaborne Trade and Shipping, held in Canberra, Australia on 3-4 April 2001.

10 Jayasankaran, S. and T. Saywell, "Heading for A Collision," in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Vol. 164 No. 150, 20 December 2001, at pp. 46-48.

11 Abhyankar, Jayant. "Piracy and Ship Robbery: A Growing Menace" in Hamzah, Ahmad and Akira Ogawa, Combating Piracy, The Okazaki Institute, Tokyo, Japan, 2001, at p. 11

12 Art. 101, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

13 Art. 2.2, Draft Code of Practice for the Investigation of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships (MSC/Circ. 984)

14 Abhyankar, Note 11, at p. 21.

15 See Abhyankar, Note 11.

16 At its 11th Meeting held in Seoul, South Korea on 17-19 February 2002.

17 See Batongbacal, Jay. "Maritime Terrorism: Scenarios and Challenges." Paper presented at the 11th Meeting of the Maritime Cooperation Working Group of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, held in Seoul, Korea, 17-19 February 2002.

18 MacKinnon, Doug and Paul Schwerdt, "The Risk and Threat of Criminal Activity in Australia's Maritime Zones," in MacKinnon, Doug and Dick Sherwood, Policing Australia's Offshore Zones, Centre for Maritime Policy, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, 1997, pp. 63-73, at p. 66.

19 Ibid.

20 Id., pp.65-66.

21 United Nations, Oceans and Law of the Sea: Report of the Secretary General 16 March 2001, United Nations, Doc. A/56/58

22 Ibid.

23 MacKinnon, Note 20, at p. 67

24 United Nations, Note 21, p. 45

25 "Shabu worth P1B seized in Quezon," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 15 October 2001 and "Shabu worth P668M seized," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 November 2001.

26 Abhyankar, Note 11, at p. 21.

27 IMO, "Dramatic Increase in Piracy and Armed Robbery," press release available online at

28 Ibid.

29 Batongbacal, Note 17

30 Abhyankar, Note 11, at p. 37

31 Swinnerton, Russ, "A Description of Regional Shipping Routes: Navigational and Operational Considerations," Journal of Maritime Studies 87, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 1994; available online at

32 Akimoto, Note 4.

33 IMO, "Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships", press release available online at

34 United Nations, Note 23, p. 39

35 IMO, 'Trafficking or Transport of Illegal Migrants by Sea," press release available online at

36 IMO, "Maritime Security," press release available online at

37 Note 2.

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