Sea Transportation: ASEAN Anti-Piracy Pact Activated
September 16, 2006: The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) anti-piracy pact, initially suggested by Japan in late 2001, went into force on September 4th. The pact commits signatories to cooperate in sharing information on piracy and other criminal acts at sea. It took years to negotiate, largely due to mutually suspicions among the participants, but the eight ratifications necessary to initiate the program were completed over the summer. This binds Japan, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia to support an information sharing center that will open in Singapore by the end of November. Ratifications from other ASEAN nations are expected over the next few months. This operation will not only make it harder for pirates to operate, but will also reduce smuggling and terrorism activity at sea.