Pirates in Paradise: A Modern History of Southeast Asia's Maritime Marauders

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by Stefan Eklöf

Piracy is not dead. Since the late-twentieth century, pirates have returned to the world’s oceans with a vengeance. Many of them are just as violent and fearsome as Blackbeard and the buccaneers of old but – equipped with M16 rifles, submachine guns, grenade launchers and even bombs – they are able to inflict much more harm. Worst hit is Southeast Asia where thousands of people have lost their lives at the hands of pirates in the last 25 years. Here, oil tankers, cargo ships, passenger vessels, fishing boats and pleasure yachts all have been targets of ruthless attacks. Fears are growing of pirates and terrorists cooperating to stage a maritime-style 9/11 attack near Singapore, closing the world’s busiest seaway.

But who are these modern sea robbers who continue to infest the waters of Southeast Asia? Why have they not been suppressed by the security forces of the region? How serious is the problem for international shipping, for fishermen and for governments? Rich and engrossing in its detail, this book offers profound insights into contemporary terrorism, piracy and transnational organized crime in Southeast Asia. It will be essential reading not just for shipping professionals, business people dealing with Asia and security specialists but indeed for anyone with an interest in maritime affairs or the East Asian world.

"The book is enlivened with some useful maps, and first-hand accounts from victims and perpetrators. Studies of modern piracy face two problems: first, what exactly is piracy, and second, is it a real threat to world trade? This sober and intelligent book deals well with both these matters." - Michael Pearson, International Journal of Maritime History

Stefan Eklöf Amirell is an Indonesia expert, and has also published more generally about Southeast Asian politics and history. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship and history Ph. D at Lund University.

Publication year: 2006
192 pp / 214mm x 137mm
7 maps, 3 figures
ISBN: 978-87-91114-37-3, Paperback
NIAS Press