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The Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
(Malay: Selat Melaka, Indonesian: Selat Malaka; Jawi: سلت ملاک) or Straits of Malacca
Malacca
is a narrow, 550 mi (890 km) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
(Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.[1] It is named after the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.

Contents

1 Extent 2 Economic importance 3 Shipping hazards 4 Proposals to relieve the strait 5 History 6 See also 7 Further reading 8 References 9 External links

Extent[edit] The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
as follows:[2]

On the West. A line joining Pedropunt, the Northernmost point of Sumatra
Sumatra
(5°40′N 95°26′E / 5.667°N 95.433°E / 5.667; 95.433) and Lem Voalan the Southern extremity of Goh Puket [Phuket Island] in Siam [Thailand] (7°45′N 98°18′E / 7.750°N 98.300°E / 7.750; 98.300).

On the East. A line joining Tanjong Piai (Bulus), the Southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
(1°16′N 103°31′E / 1.267°N 103.517°E / 1.267; 103.517) and The Brothers (1°11.5′N 103°21′E / 1.1917°N 103.350°E / 1.1917; 103.350) and thence to Klein Karimoen (1°10′N 103°23.5′E / 1.167°N 103.3917°E / 1.167; 103.3917).

On the North. The Southwestern coast of the Malay Peninsula.

On the South. The Northeastern coast of Sumatra
Sumatra
as far to the eastward as Tanjong Kedabu (1°06′N 102°58′E / 1.100°N 102.967°E / 1.100; 102.967) thence to Klein Karimoen.

Economic importance[edit] From an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. The strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Over 94,000 vessels[3] pass through the strait each year (2008) making it the busiest strait in the world,[4] carrying about 25% of the world's traded goods, including oil, Chinese manufactured products, coal, palm oil and Indonesian coffee.[5] About a quarter of all oil carried by sea passes through the Strait, mainly from Persian Gulf suppliers to Asian markets. In 2007, an estimated 13.7 million barrels per day were transported through the strait, increasing to an estimated 15.2 million barrels per day in 2011.[6] In addition, it is also one of the world's most congested shipping choke points because it narrows to only 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles) wide at the Phillips Channel (close to the south of Singapore).[7] The maximum size (specifically draught) of a vessel that can pass through the Strait
Strait
is referred to as Malaccamax, that is, for some of the world's largest ships (mostly oil tankers), the Strait's minimum depth (25 metres or 82 feet) is not deep enough. The next closest passageway (the Sunda Strait
Strait
between Sumatra
Sumatra
and Java) is even more shallow and narrow. Therefore, ships exceeding the Malaccamax
Malaccamax
must detour a few thousand nautical miles and use the Lombok Strait, Makassar Strait, Sibutu Passage, or Mindoro Strait
Strait
instead. Shipping hazards[edit] See also: Piracy
Piracy
in the Strait
Strait
of Malacca Piracy
Piracy
has been a problem in the strait. Piracy
Piracy
had been high in the 2000s, with additional increase after the events of September 11, 2001.[8] After attacks rose again in the first half of 2004, regional navies stepped up their patrols of the area in July 2004. Subsequently, attacks on ships in the Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
dropped, to 79 in 2005 and 50 in 2006.[9] Recent reports indicate that attacks have dropped to near-zero levels in recent years.[10] There are 34 shipwrecks, some dating to the 1880s, in the local TSS channel (the channel for commercial ships under the global Traffic Separation Scheme). These pose a collision hazard in the narrow and shallow strait.[11] On 20 August 2017, the United States Navy
United States Navy
destroyer USS John S. McCain lost ten of its crew's lives in a collision with the merchant ship Alnic MC
Alnic MC
a short distance east of the strait whilst full steering capabilities had been lost and making a series of errors in attempted mitigation, its external lights being changed to "red over red" ("vessel not under command").[12]

Yearly haze from the smoke of raging bush fires, limiting visibility.

Another risk is the annual haze due to bush fires in Sumatra, Indonesia. It may reduce visibility to 200 metres (660 ft), forcing ships to slow down in the busy strait. The strait is frequently used by ships longer than 350 metres (1,150 ft).[citation needed] Proposals to relieve the strait[edit] Further information: Thai Canal Thailand
Thailand
has developed plans to divert much of the strait's traffic and hence some of its economic significance to a shorter route: the Thai government has, several times, proposed to cut a canal through the Isthmus of Kra, saving around 960 kilometres (600 mi) from the journey between the two oceans. China
China
has offered to cover the costs, according to a report leaked to The Washington Times
The Washington Times
in 2004. Nevertheless, and despite the support of several Thai politicians, the prohibitive financial and ecological costs suggest that such a canal will not be built. An alternative is to install a pipeline across the Isthmus of Kra
Isthmus of Kra
to carry oil to ships waiting on the other side. Proponents calculate it would cut the cost of oil delivery to Asia
Asia
by about $0.50/barrel ($3/m3). Myanmar
Myanmar
has also made a similar pipeline proposal. History[edit]

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The Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
as viewed from the city of Malacca, Malaysia. Indonesia
Indonesia
is visible in the distance.

Early traders from Arabia, Africa, Persia, and the Southern Indian kingdoms reached Kedah
Kedah
before arriving at Guangzhou. Kedah
Kedah
served as a western port on the Malay Peninsula. They traded glassware, camphor, cotton goods, brocades, ivory, sandalwood, perfume, and precious stones. These traders sailed to Kedah
Kedah
via the monsoon winds between June and November. They returned between December and May. Kedah provided accommodations, porters, small vessels, bamboo rafts, elephants, and also tax collections for goods to be transported overland toward the eastern ports of the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
such as Langkasuka
Langkasuka
and Kelantan. After the Tenth Century, ships from China began to trade at these eastern trading posts and ports. Kedah
Kedah
and Funan were famous ports through the 6th century, before shipping began to utilize the Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
itself as a trade route. In the 7th century the maritime empire of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
based on Palembang, Sumatra, rose to power, and its influence expanded to the Malay peninsula and Java. The empire gained effective control on two major choke points in maritime Southeast Asia; the Strait
Strait
of Malacca and the Sunda Strait. By launching a series of conquests and raids on potentially rival ports on both side of the strait, Srivijaya
Srivijaya
ensured its economic and military domination in the region lasted for about 700 years. Srivijaya
Srivijaya
gained a great benefit from the lucrative spice trade, the tributary trade system with China, and trade with Indian and Arab merchants. The Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
became the important maritime trade route between India
India
and China. The importance of the Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
in global trade networks continued well into later centuries with the rise of the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
in the 15th century, the Johor Sultanate, and the rise of the modern city-state of Singapore. Since the 17th century, the strait has been the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
and the Pacific Ocean. Different major regional powers managed the straits during different historical periods.[13] In the early 19th century, the Dutch and British empires drew an arbitrary boundary line in the strait and promised to hunt down pirates on their respective sides; that line went on to become today's border between Malaysia
Malaysia
and Indonesia.[1] The strait was already established as one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, with Indonesia
Indonesia
controlling the majority of the sea lane.[14] See also[edit]

Early history of Kedah Malaccamax Malacca
Malacca
Strait
Strait
Bridge Malacca
Malacca
Town Mangroves of the Straits of Malacca Piracy
Piracy
in the Strait
Strait
of Malacca Sultanate of Kedah Action of 10 September 1782 Battle of Penang Action of 13 November 1943 Action of 11 January 1944 Action of 14 February 1944 Action of 17 July 1944 Battle of the Malacca
Malacca
Strait

Further reading[edit]

Borschberg, Peter, The Singapore
Singapore
and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century ( Singapore
Singapore
and Leiden: NUS Press and KITLV Press, 2010). https://www.academia.edu/4302722 Borschberg, Peter, ed., Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka Area and Adjacent Regions (16th to 18th Century) (Wiesbaden and Lisbon: Harrassowitz and Fundação Oriente, 2004). https://www.academia.edu/4302708 Borschberg, Peter, ed. The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre. Security, Trade and Society in 17th Century Southeast Asia
Asia
(Singapore: NUS Press, 2013). https://www.academia.edu/4302722 Borschberg, Peter, ed., Journal, Memorials and Letters of Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge. Security, Diplomacy and Commerce in 17th Century Southeast Asia
Asia
(Singapore: NUS Press, 2015). https://www.academia.edu/4302783 Borschberg, Peter, "The value of Admiral Matelieff's writings for the history of Southeast Asia, c.1600-1620", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 48(3), pp. 414-435. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S002246341700056X Borschberg P. and M. Krieger, ed., Water and State in Asia
Asia
and Europe (New Delhi: Manohar, 2008). https://www.academia.edu/4311610

References[edit]

^ a b Winn, Patrick (27 Mar 2014). " Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
Is World's New Piracy
Piracy
Hotspot". NBC News. Retrieved 14 March 2017.  ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ Aljazeera.net (in English) ^ Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
- World Oil Transit Chokepoints, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy ^ Freeman, Donald B. (2003). The Straits of Malacca: Gateway or Gauntlet?. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2515-7. . A book review citing this information can be found at University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 74, Number 1, Winter 2004/5, pp. 528-530 ^ World Oil Transit Chokepoints, Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy ^ World Oil Transit Chokepoints ^ Raymond, Catherine (2009). "PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY IN THE MALACCA STRAIT: A Problem Solved?". Naval War College Review. 62: 31–42 – via Proquest.  ^ Piracy
Piracy
down 3rd year in row: IMB report, Journal of Commerce Online, January 23, 2007 ^ http://maritimesecurity.asia/free-2/piracy-2/drastic-drop-in-piracy-in-malacca-straits/ ^ 34 wrecks in sealane threaten passing ships ^ http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=102034 ^ Pineda, Guillermo (2012). "The Strait
Strait
of Malacca
Malacca
as one of the most important geopolitical regions for the People's Republic of China". Academia.edu – via Academia.edu.  ^ "Malay Archipelago". THE MARITIME HERITAGE PROJECT. Retrieved 14 Mar 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Strait
Strait
of Malacca.

Library resources about Strait
Strait
of Malacca

Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

World oil transit chokepoints Maritime Security in Southeast Asia: U.S., Japanese, Regional, and Industry Strategies (National Bureau of Asian Research, November 2010) BBC News report on the increased security in the Straits "Going for the jugular" Report on the potential terrorist threat to the Straits. From the Economist, requires subscription, in the print edition June 10, 2004 China
China
builds up strategic sea lanes A report from the International Maritime Organisation on the implementation of a Straits "Marine Electronic Highway" - a series of technological measures to ensure safe and efficient use of the busy waters Malacca, Singapore, and Indonesia
Indonesia
(1978) by Michael Leifer The Malacca
Malacca
Straits Research and Development Centre homepage Al-Jazeera: Malacca
Malacca
Strait
Strait
nations plan air patrol The Strategic Importance of the Straits of Malacca
Malacca
for World Trade and Regional Development AP: Singapore
Singapore
warns of terror threat in Malacca
Malacca
Strait, 2010-03-04

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