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Maritime piracy in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh, 1992-2006: a prismatic interpretation of security

Liss, Carolin (2007) Maritime piracy in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh, 1992-2006: a prismatic interpretation of security. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Southeast Asia and Bangladesh are at present global hot-spots of pirate attacks on merchant vessels and fishing boats. This thesis explains why, and in what form, piracy still exists. It will argue that an examination of contemporary piracy is important because it can be understood as both a symptom and a reflection of a range of geo-political and socio-economic problems and security concerns.

The thesis examines pirate attacks on small craft, including fishing boats, and merchant vessels in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh between 1992 and 2006. It describes the different types of contemporary pirate attacks, identifies piracy hot-spots, and looks at the various kinds of pirates active in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh. Furthermore, it discusses a number of factors which have contributed to the shaping of modern day piracy in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh. Issues examined in this regard include the impact of ecological degradation and over-fishing on the occurrence of piracy; loop-holes and shortcomings in maritime laws and regulations that are conducive to the operations of pirates; the involvement of transnational crime syndicates and radical politically motivated groups in piracy; and the problems with state and private responses to pirate attacks.

It will be argued that the examination of these factors reveals not only how they shape piracy, but that they also have an impact upon security well beyond pirate attacks. Examining piracy in this way is akin to looking through a prism, allowing a critical gaze to be cast over a range of political, social, and ecological developments, as well as security risks, and their impact on the lives and circumstances of people in Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, and the wider international community. It will be suggested that piracy and the various responses to it both reflect political and social developments within countries, and co-operation, tension and friction between states. Additionally, it will be demonstrated that the occurrence of pirate attacks in a region or a country indicates the existence of a wide range of traditional and non-traditional security risks, which can have far reaching repercussions for individuals, nations, or the international community. Through the examination of piracy in Southeast Asia and Bangladesh, and the responses it triggers, important new trends and practices in the security sector are also identified, including the increasing privatisation of security and protection services around the globe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Supervisor(s): Warren, James
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