Year

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Law

Abstract

The unique maritime geography of the Southeast Asian region presents distinct maritime security threats. Southeast Asia has a vast maritime area and the ocean plays an important role in the economy of all Southeast Asian countries. The flow of trade in this region is highly dependent on maritime trade and constitutes one of the main sources of national income.

Analyses of the prevailing international and regional legal frameworks governing maritime security threats in Southeast Asia are elaborated in this thesis. Moreover, the thesis confines the scope of its inquiry specifically to five issues: piracy, maritime terrorism, people smuggling, IUU fishing, and marine pollution caused by offshore oil and gas activities. Furthermore, the thesis examines these maritime security challenges, both from an international and a regional perspective.

This thesis analyses the components of the international and regional legal frameworks which govern issues of maritime security in Southeast Asia and identify their weaknesses. It also identifies and addresses the problems which stem from the inherent gaps and weaknesses in legal instruments at the international and regional levels, as well as the measures that are required to remedy these gaps and weaknesses. Furthermore, in circumstances where no binding legal framework is in place to regulate certain maritime security challenges, the thesis examines existing non-binding legal and policy frameworks which address the maritime security challenges.

The thesis concludes that the current international and regional legal frameworks are inadequate to address the issues of piracy, maritime terrorism, people smuggling, IUU fishing and marine pollution caused by offshore oil and gas activities in Southeast Asia. In order to address these maritime security threats in a comprehensive manner, there is a need for States in the region to cooperate with one another to formulate (and sometimes reformulate) existing legal frameworks.

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