US delivers 15 patrol boats to Indonesia in effort to increase maritime security in the region
Indonesia’s national police received on Thursday, January 17, 2007, 15 patrol boats from the United States to boost maritme security in the sprawling archipelago. According to United States embassy spokeswoman Susan Stahl, Indonesia’s police intends to deploy the boats near the vital shipping route of the Malacca Strait.
“The high-speed patrol boats have been given to the Indonesian national police to help them in their maritime security efforts.”
The Malacca Strait, which separates the Indonesian island of Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia, is one of the world’s most important waterways, with 50,000 ships carrying about one-third of world trade through it each year. Despite successful cooperation between regional governments to reduce the frequency of attacks from from 50 (2006) to 43 attacks (2007) the waterway remains notoriously vulnerable to piracy. According to the International Maritime Bureau, Indonesia still ranks as the world’s most dangerous place in terms of pirate attacks in 2007.
US Ambassador Cameron Hume turned over the boats to Indonesian national police chief General Sutanto at a ceremony in North Sumatra province on Thursday morning. According to Sutanto the grant was received after Indonesia lobbied the US government, citing cases of drug smuggling across its maritime borders.