National Academies Press: OpenBook

Maritime Security Partnerships (2008)

Chapter: Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World

« Previous: Appendix A: Committee and Staff Biographies
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World." National Research Council. 2008. Maritime Security Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12029.
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B Sea Lanes of Commerce in the Various Regions of the World Globalization in the 21st century has forced into keen focus the absolute imperative for an ability to assure free and peaceful access to the sea. The U.S. economy—in fact, all economies of all developed and developing nations and multinational corporations—are more reliant than ever before on global trade for their prosperity. The exchange of raw materials, product components, and finished goods by sea conveyance has paralleled the expanding global economy. But this exchange requires free and uninterrupted use of the seas, which has seen a largely peaceful environment for the past 50 years due in large part to the maritime dominance of the United States and its allies and friends. Maritime security partnerships (MSP) may become the means by which all nations contribute to maintaining the freedom of the seas at the same time as they protect their homelands. Without assured freedom of the seas, global trade and global economies could be hindered. Consequently, all users of the sea for commerce should embrace and support such initiatives that will protect the seas from criminal activity and disruption. In stable regions of the world, where maritime trade is mature and follows established routes, commodities, and even schedules, evolving technologies have been applied to optimize the generation of data that immediately highlight any disruption to normal commerce. Multinational corporations, shipping lines, coast guards, port authorities, and any number of government entities should find it in their interest to invest  ADM J. Paul Reason, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with David G. Freymann. 1998. Sailing New Seas, The Newport Papers, Thirteenth in the Series, Naval War College, Newport, R.I. 157

158 MARITIME SECURITY PARTNERSHIPS their resources to curb illegal and disruptive activity, ensuring the free conduct of maritime trade. However, in particular areas of the world, usually coastal, illicit maritime trade may be violating the 2005 Protocols to the 1988 Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) Convention and its Protocol. The list of shared, complex challenges is long; such challenges usually grow out of conditions whereby regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, increased trade, and network connectivity are pulling away from regions of the world where nations are plagued by politically repressive regimes, weak economies, widespread poverty, disease, and a lack of adequate medical care. The challenges include but are not limited to terrorism, weapons proliferation, trade disruption, piracy, the drug trade, human smuggling, illegal immigration, and organized crime. They could also include environmental attacks, illegal fish- ing, competition for natural resources such as oil for developing countries or, in some areas, the growing shortage of water, which can lead to famine. The natural disasters that occur regularly around the world are another challenge to which maritime forces have to react because only they may be able to reach hard-hit areas to deliver assistance. The most recent example of this was the tsunami that devastated large parts of Indonesia, Thailand, and the island chains in the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea. Just as graphic was the maritime support in response to Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The shared complex challenges chart (Figure B.1) is a 30-day picture of the ocean-going traffic that moves on the high seas as well as in the sea lanes of com- merce (SLOCs) and choke points around the world. Each dot on that figure rep- resents one ship, and the trade routes are very clear from the density of shipping around the major continents. Many of the choke points through which much of the trade flows are in regions where countries are in various states of development or have tenuous relations with each other or with the more developed countries. Open SLOCs are critical for world trade and for global maritime security. What follows is a general description of the key SLOCs by region. The Pacific and Southeast Asia SLOCs in the Indonesian archipelago and the South China Sea remain criti- cal choke points in that almost half of the world’s shipping passes through these waters. They include the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Sunda, and the Strait of Lombok. All three provide entrances from the south to the South China Sea. The Strait of Makassar could also be considered a choke point. Each is important to the world trade system (see Figure B.1). • From an economic and strategic prospective, the Strait of Malacca is one   Protocol 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Mari- time Navigation, and Protocol of 2005 to the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf.

Illegal Immigration Terrorism Human Environmental Smuggling Attack Trade Organized Drug Disruption Crime Trade Piracy Weapons Proliferation FIGURE B.1 Complex shared challenges. SOURCE: ADM Henry G. Ulrich III, USN, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander, Allied Joint Forces Command, Italy, “Complex Shared Challenges,” presentation to the committee, Naples, Italy, March 29, 2007. 159 Figure B-1, editable, b&w, broadside R01141

160 MARITIME SECURITY PARTNERSHIPS of the most important SLOCs in the world. Over 50,000 vessels of all sizes pass through here annually between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Over a quarter of all oil carried by sea moves through this strait. A terrorist attack or increased piracy in this waterway could have a large-scale economic impact on the region as well as the world. Any successful attack or blockage could dramatically raise insurance rates for ships transiting this area or could force ships to detour well out of their way, causing major shortages of crude oil or dry bulk cargoes like iron ore or coal. The result could be higher freight rates as well as a disruption of world markets. • The Sunda Strait passes between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It connects the Java Sea with the Indian Ocean. Sunda could be used as an alternative if the Strait of Malacca were closed for some reason; however, its narrowness at points as well as oil rigs off the Java coast could make it unsuitable for large commercial vessels. • The Lombak Strait connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean and is located between the islands of Bali and Lombak in Indonesia. The Makassar Strait runs between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi. Much of Australia’s export trade carried in ships to northeast Asia goes through both of these two deepwater passages in Indonesia. Depending on a ship’s destination, it branches off toward the Philippine Sea or into the South China Sea. Many other countries use these waterways as well. • Many nations in Southeast Asia are islands or have extended coastlines. Their land transport infrastructure is not well developed, although seaborne imports are growing and thereby increasing the use of SLOCs for interisland trade. A key point here is that the myriad of islands in this region make it extremely difficult to provide adequate coverage for situational awareness in sup- port of maritime security requirements. The current exception is the “electronic highway” in the Malacca Strait. The Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and Africa This large expanse of ocean features some of most critical SLOCs and choke points in the world. Shipping traffic is generally secure in the open ocean but not in some of the coastal areas. Several choke points are bordered by states ruled by regimes that are weak politically, corrupt, and more or less hostile to the United States and other nations. Many are threatened by terrorism, piracy, the drug trade, or smuggling (see Figure B.1). • The Strait of Hormuz is a strategically important, very narrow channel between the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Indian Ocean. It is a vital shipping lane for petroleum tankers traveling to or from the Far East, Africa, or Europe. Over 25 percent of the world’s oil supply passes through this strait, which is bordered by Iran to the east and Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the

appendix B 161 west and south. Transit problems in this waterway would lead to widespread trade disruption in the oil markets as well as potentially severe economic consequences in the countries that depend on oil from that region. • Bab El-Mandeb at the entrance to the Red Sea, a vital SLOC and choke point, is bordered by Yemen and Saudi Arabia to the east; Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Sudan to the west; and Somalia to the south. The countries in this area are all emerging and are havens for terrorism, weapons smuggling, the drug trade, and piracy. All commercial shipping, including petroleum tankers, moving from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and Europe must pass through the Bab El-Mandeb and the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. Likewise, most shipping coming from Europe to the Middle East, India, and the Pacific must pass through this waterway. Disruption at any point along this SLOC could force shipping com- panies to move their cargoes by sea from Europe to Asia around South Africa, causing major trade disruptions, economic chaos, and drastic increases in insur- ance premiums for the shippers. • The Mozambique Channel lies between Madagascar to the east and Mozambique to the west, along the East African coast. It is an important ship- ping route for countries bordering the Indian Ocean to and around the southern tip of Africa and into the South Atlantic. The channel is wide and deep and consists of island groups that are considered strategically important from the standpoint of maritime security. Piracy, the drug trade, illegal fishing, human smuggling, and terrorism are all problems in this area. All of the countries in this region are fragile and have weak economies and poor maritime security. • The area along the western coast of Africa, known as the Gulf of Guinea, is rich in natural resources (sweet crude oil) and bordered by several countries with weak governments, corruption, struggling economies, and large ungoverned areas. It is plagued by militant violence, illegal fishing, piracy, and poverty. The Gulf of Guinea is currently the third largest source of oil imports to the United States, and it is projected to be one of the world’s top four oil producers by 2020. The legal framework for maritime law is inadequate or nonexistent, and few of the countries bordering the Gulf have the capacity to provide maritime security. Ships moving along the west coast of Africa pass through the Gulf of Guinea. Europe and the Black Sea This region is characterized by stable countries with viable economies that stretch from the Mediterranean to the Baltic and the Scandinavian countries. To the east of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea are some stable countries as well as others in varying stages of development. Trade in the SLOCs of the Mediter- ranean, the English Channel, and the Baltic is relatively normal; however, the drug trade, the potential for terrorism, illegal immigration, and smuggling are concerns for maritime security. Choke points in this region could be the Bospo- rus, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Skagerrak and Kattegat, which lie between

162 MARITIME SECURITY PARTNERSHIPS the North Sea and the Baltic. Of the three, the Bosporus, which sits between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, may be the most critical as it is the only water route from the Black Sea countries to the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, and the Aegean Sea (see Figure B.1). Much of the oil coming from the Caspian Sea region passes through this waterway. The Bosporus is the world’s narrowest strait that is used for international navigation, and there have been many conflicts over it in modern times. However, there are international treaties in place that govern the use of the waterway. By treaty, Turkey controls the Bosporus as well as the Dardanelles to the west. the Western Hemisphere and the Caribbean The SLOCs between the Pacific and Atlantic and both North and South America are open, and commercial shipping moves freely with a minimum of interference. Maritime security concerns center on the threats of terrorism, smuggling, weapons proliferation, and the drug trade. In the Caribbean the pri- mary concerns are the drug trade and illegal immigration. The countries of Latin America are mainly stable, and the maritime commerce there depends heavily on the Panama Canal, the quickest route from the Atlantic to the Pacific for world trade. The Panama Canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama in Central America. It is a key conduit for international shipping: More than 14,000 ships pass through it annually over the 70-mile route. If the Panama Canal were ever closed to com- mercial shippers, it would mean a long voyage around South America that would disrupt trade, slow down economies, and drive up insurance premiums for the shipping companies (see Figure B.1). While the Panama Canal has enjoyed considerable success, there could be problems in the future. The volume of imports from Asia now moving through the canal for ports on the East Coast of the United States and other ports in the hemi- sphere is increasing. The number of transits is down; however, the total tonnage capacity has gone up, from 227 million tons in FY1996 to almost 296 million tons in 2006. Canal authorities have widened and modernized portions of the water- way, which has increased efficiency, but it is expected to soon reach its maximum capacity. With larger and larger ships lining up in the assembly areas at both ends of the canal, the potential for accidents and terrorism goes up. Destruction of one of the critical locks along the route by terrorists would present a major challenge for the authorities responsible for security in and around this waterway. ******** SLOCs in all regions of the world are critical for the free movement of com- mercial shipping and for world trade. Today these lanes are not threatened by wars between countries, but the potential for disruption of commerce is nonethe-

appendix B 163 less significant if maritime security frameworks are not in place in certain regions of the world. Individuals or groups that want to disrupt trade along any of these routes could do so at many points in the maritime domain. Covering all of the critical SLOCs as well as the choke points with adequate surveillance systems having links to maritime security forces is an onerous responsibility and very expensive. The question becomes who will pay for the costs of such systems and who will create and coordinate the policies that will be the legal foundation for the surveillance plans. Achieving maritime domain awareness (MDA) has to be the first step following regional partnerships and collaboration.   Department of Homeland Security, 2005, The National Plan to Achieve Maritime Awareness for the National Strategy for Maritime Security (Washington, D.C.), October, p. 1, defines MDA as “the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy or the environment of the United States.”

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To offer security in the maritime domain, governments around the world need the capabilities to directly confront common threats like piracy, drug-trafficking, and illegal immigration. No single navy or nation can do this alone.

Recognizing this new international security landscape, the former Chief of Naval Operations called for a collaborative international approach to maritime security, initially branded the "1,000-ship Navy." This concept envisions U.S. naval forces partnering with multinational, federal, state, local and private sector entities to ensure freedom of navigation, the flow of commerce, and the protection of ocean resources.

This new book from the National Research Council examines the technical and operational implications of the "1,000-ship Navy," as they apply to four levels of cooperative efforts:

  1. U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and merchant shipping only;
  2. U.S. naval and maritime assets with others in treaty alliances or analogous arrangements;
  3. U.S. naval and maritime assets with ad hoc coalitions; and
  4. U.S. naval and maritime assets with others than above who may now be friendly but could potentially be hostile, for special purposes such as deterrence of piracy or other criminal activity.
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