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Cablegate: Reduced Piracy in Indonesian Waters Due to Training,

VZCZCXRO1367
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2175/01 3330901
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280901Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0833
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2776
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3341

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002175

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: EWWT PHSA PREL ID
SUBJECT: REDUCED PIRACY IN INDONESIAN WATERS DUE TO TRAINING,
COORDINATION, AND STABILITY

1. (U) This message is Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU). Please
protect accordingly.

2. (U) Summary. Sustained peace in Aceh, increased Marine Police
capabilities as a result of additional assets and training provided
by USG and others, and improved coordination with Singapore
authorities have led to a steady decline in reports of pirate
attacks in the Strait of Malacca (SOM) and Indonesia since 2005.
Since that time, there have only been two significant attacks on
vessels in the SOM. According to police and navy contacts, the
majority of incidents currently reported are sea robbery -- attacks
that take place in port while the ship is berthed or anchored rather
than piracy. End Summary.

Piracy Reports Down Significantly
---------------------------------

3. (U) Between 2000 to 2005, Indonesian waters and the SOM were
considered among the world's most dangerous waters for pirate
attacks. Lloyd's of London in 2005 declared the SOM an "area with
security threats to shipping" causing insurance premiums to rise.
Lloyd's removed the SOM from the ranking in 2006 after marked
improvements. Data from the Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting
Center of the International Chamber of Commerce, International
Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows a sustained decrease in incident reports
in Indonesia and the SOM since 2005. Indeed Indonesia is on track
for the first time in a decade to not be the country with the most
number of piracy reports (Note: IMB data showed Nigeria, India, and
the Gulf of Aden having more reported attacks than Indonesia in the
first quarter of 2008.) Marine police and Indonesian Navy contacts
indicate much of the reported piracy is actually "sea robbery",
attacks that take place in port while the ship is berthed or
anchored.

Piracy Decreased After Peace Accords
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) To a significant extent, SOM piracy was a function of the
conflict in Indonesia's Aceh Province, where the Aceh Independence
Movement (GAM) was fighting a separatist battle against the national
government. When the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA)
between the central government and GAM broke down in 2000, incidents
of piracy in the SOM and the Eastern coast of Sumatra increased
significantly. During this period, piracy incidents were generally
in the SOM along the northern edge of Sumatra with isolated
incidents off the coast of Bangka Island. According to police and
military sources, the majority of cases were attributed to the Free
Aceh Movement rebels. Other observers and ship owners based in Medan
have said some of this piracy was carried out by members of the
Indonesian security forces posing as Aceh rebels. After the 2005
Helsinki peace accord, incidents of piracy dropped dramatically.
Since that time, there have been only two significant attacks on
vessels in the SOM. Other reported attacks were on vessels parked
at or near ports.

U.S. Assistance Improves Security
---------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) INL-funded Department of Justice (DOJ)/ International
Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP)
assistance to the National Police has helped develop Marine Police
capabilities in the SOM and near Bangka Island to deter and capture
pirates. Patrol boats and training provided over the last year have
led to a dramatic increase in the number of arrests for sea robbery
and piracy. According to Colonel Yassin, Marine Police Director in
Batam, the increased capabilities from the boats allowed for
increased coordination with Singaporean counterparts. Since then,
the Indonesian Marine Police and Singapore Customs and Marine Police
have begun to meet regularly and increase their coordination on
patrols. The boats have also been instrumental in interdicting
shipments of illegal logs, illegal immigrants, and smuggled fuel.

6. (SBU) U.S. assistance in the pipeline will further boost
Indonesian capability in the near future. Through assistance
provided under Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization
Act, the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) is installing a system
of land- and sea-based radars along the east coast of Sumatra which
will enable the Indonesian Navy to deter piracy and improve security
in the SOM. The system is slated for completion in 2009.

Continued Assistance Needed to Maintain Security
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. (SBU) Marine Police and Indonesian Navy contacts note that
security is enhanced directly as a result of U.S. assistance. They
consider continued training programs and assistance with critical
assets vital to maintaining security in the SOM and Indonesian's
expansive archipelago.


JAKARTA 00002175 002 OF 002


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