Addressing the Issue of Piracy off Indonesia and Nigeria: The Need for a Paradigm Change

Author:Kalu K. Anele
Position:Cultural Heritage Preservation Research Institute, Pusan National University, The Republic of Korea
e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
© 2020 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
The Need for a Paradigm ChaNge
Kalu Kingsley Anele
Cultural Heritage Preservation Research Institute,
Pusan National University, e Republic of Korea
Given the abundant natural resources, especially oil and gas, including rened
products, in Indonesia and Nigeria, which essentially rely on the maritime sec-
tor for their exploitation, exportation, and importation, a coastline devoid of
piracy becomes imperative. Indeed, piracy signicantly aects the exportation
and importation of nished goods. More importantly, piracy has humanitarian,
economic, and sociopolitical eects on both countries. Whereas the waters of
both countries are deemed risky for navigation, the governments of Indonesia
and Nigeria do not seem to be doing enough to curb piracy. is paper observes
that due to the signicant commonalities between both countries in terms of the
nature of piracy, the signicance of the maritime sector, internal security, and
the geographical and economic positions in their regions, similar measures to
curb piracy can be recommended for both countries. Consequently, the paper
argues that strengthening legal regime and institutional framework, cooperation
with regional countries, including other relevant institutions, and the political
will to curb piracy by both governments are vital in suppressing piracy o Indo-
nesia and Nigeria.
Keywords: Law of the Sea, Law Enforcement, International Law, International Coop-
eration, International Criminal Law.
VII Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 245-76 (April 2020)
It is a notorious fact that piracy is a threat to global shipping and other
maritime activities like international trade, shing, oshore oil explo-
ration, maritime transportation, maritime security of riparian states,
and leisure cras, including yachts.1 Unlike olden days pirates, con-
temporary pirates, inter alia, use global positioning system (GPS) to
track potential vessels that are targets for attack, deploy small arms and
Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPDs) to intimidate ships to reduce speed
or stop to allow them to board the ships, obtain information about
ships manifests and schedule, and operate mother ships (these include
very large merchant vessels, shing vessels and dhows).2 Additional-
ly, contemporary piracy targets oil and gas platforms and pipelines at
sea. e import of this is that technology, globalisation, government
bureaucracy, inadequate legal framework, compromised maritime reg-
ulatory and security agencies, and lack of prosecution have created a
conducive environment for piracy to be a sophisticated, brazen, and
lucrative industry.
Aside from the absence of piracy prosecution by some riparian states
like Nigeria and the fact that little capital is required to kick-start the
crime; the growing nancial crisis and recessions, political instability,
and heightened level of transnational organised crime motivate pirates
in some regions. For example, Indonesian piracy arose not only as a
result of the consequences of the Asian nancial crisis of 1997/8 (which
1. For details of piracy attacks on cruise ships and yachts, see Nebojsa Nikolic &
Eduard Missoni, Piracy on the high seas-threats to travelers, 20 J.  T
M. 313, 314-315 (2014), DOI: 10.1111/jtm.12051. Due to the threat posed
by piracy to maritime activities, those engaged in leisure sailing (cruise ships
and yachts) in high risk waters have been advised to make contact in advance
with the naval/military authorities. e implication of this is that piracy is a
potential threat to their safety. See BMP , B M P 
P  S  P, 71 (2011). Pirates also attack
all types of vessels, including yachts and sailboats. Kanee K. L. Panjabi, e
Pirates of Somalia: Opportunistic Predators or Environmental Prey?, 34 W. 
M E’. L.  P’ R. 377, 379 (2010).
2. BMP , B M P  D P  E
 D P  E M S   R S, G
 A, I O  A S 4 (2018).
Addressing the Issue of Piracy o Indonesia and Nigeria
led to untold poverty, unemployment, and hardship) but also due to
the marginalisation of the minority tribes, such as the Aceh tribe, in the
country.3 On the other hand, the pollution of the environment of the
Niger Delta region due to oil exploration (which has resulted in poverty,
unemployment, health challenges, and infrastructure decadence) and
the weaponisation of militants and “area boys” by corrupt politicians
in the region culminated in the destruction of oil and gas installations,
stealing of crude oil and, subsequently, piracy o Nigeria.4
Unlike Somali pirates who specialise in kidnapping seafarers
for ransom, piracy o Indonesia and Nigeria essentially involves
the stealing of cargo which include natural resources, like crude oil
and palm oil. ese attacks adversely aect the exploitation of these
resources in Indonesia and Nigeria. While it is true that other vessels,
like container vessels and shing trawlers, are attacked and instances
of kidnapping and petty the are recorded, pirates o Indonesia and
Nigeria ordinarily target tankers because of their cargo (crude oil, palm
oil, and chemicals) which they steal and later sell at the black market.
us, the exportation of crude oil and other natural resources from
both countries, and, in particular, the importation of rened products,
for example premium motor spirit (PMS) to Nigeria, are threatened
with its attendant eect on the economic development of Indonesia
and Nigeria.5
It is pertinent to note that incidents of piracy o Indonesia has
continued at a high frequency as more brazen attacks are perpetrated
against vessels. Take piracy in the Strait of Malacca as a case study, it
has been reported that the number of piracy attacks has increased from
8 in 2018 to 30 in 2019, with the possibility of further attacks as the
perpetrators are yet to be arrested and, so, the increase in piracy is a
serious concern to the region.6 is heightened level of piracy does not
3. See Eric Frecon, Maritime Predations in the Malacca Straits: Treading New
Waters, NTS I, Aug. 1, 2009, at 3; and Brigitte Rohwerder, Piracy in the
Horn of Africa, West Africa and the Strait of Malacca, R L R.
Sept., 2016, at 5.
4. A.T. Simbine & O.N. Neji, e Niger Delta crisis: perspectives of its domino eect
on the Gulf of Guinea, 4 J. Pol. Sci. & Leadership Res. 57, 58-63 (2018). See also
Rohwerder, supra note 3, at 4.
5. Rohwerder, supra note 3, at 4-5.
6. Ann Koh, Piracy along Malacca-Singapore Straits jumps nearly Fourfold,

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