Malaysia most suited to track piracy in Arabian Sea: Expert

Malaysia`s geographic location and political stability are ideal for the establishment of an international data-processing centre for maritime satellite tracking of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, a leading expert has said.

Updated: Apr 17, 2011, 13:38 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia`s geographic location and political stability are ideal for the establishment of an international data-processing centre for maritime satellite tracking of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, a leading expert has said.

Innovation Strategies International founding president Harold J. Raveche said Malaysia was already playing its crime-watch role with the International Maritime Bureau`s Piracy Reporting Centre and the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism, both of which are based here.

"Now, you can look a step further with the setting up of an international centre that provides high-resolution satellite data for maritime tracking of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

"This facility will greatly boost international efforts to combat the menace which is threatening the global commercial shipping industry and the lives of many mariners," he said during a presentation at the Armed Forces Defence College here.

He added that advanced high-resolution satellite imagery and radar technology, with improved sensors and new algorithms for signal processing, could relay vital information for enforcement agencies to detect pirate vessels, called skiffs, within one minute as compared with the present 30 minutes.

"We understand that defence technology is being limited in view of security and safety concerns, but the time has come for a unified global effort for non-sensitive commercial applications to safeguard maritime cargo vessels and for disaster-relief humanitarian operations."

Raveche said there were 445 pirate attacks reported worldwide last year, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

He called for inter-governmental agreements on the use of high-resolution defence satellite images, which could be used for early detection of pirate skiffs in Arabian waters.

The skiffs, he added, were very effective in carrying waterborne improvised explosive devices.

They were used as a platform for piracy and terrorist attacks, and as a conveyance for human trafficking and smuggling narcotics.

Raveche said international collaboration was also vital to identify, track and capture self-propelled semi-submersible vessels used by drug traffickers.

"There are about 4.5 million drug users in Europe. The figures for the rest of the world are more alarming," New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

IANS