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The Malacca Straits
Thia-Eng, C.; Gorre, I.R.L.; Ross, S.A.; Bernad, S.R.; Gervacio, B.; Ebarvia, M.C. (2000). The Malacca Straits, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 309-329
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


Authors  Top 
  • Thia-Eng, C.
  • Gorre, I.R.L.
  • Ross, S.A.
  • Bernad, S.R.
  • Gervacio, B.
  • Ebarvia, M.C.

    The Malacca Straits have long been an important trade route linking the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean. From the 7th to the 11th century, the Srivijaya empire controlled them, followed in the 15th century by the port kingdom of Malacca. Western maritime powers also recognised the strategic importance of the Straits, and in 1511, the Portuguese captured Malacca. In 1641, the Dutch occupied what is now known as Jakarta, and from the 17th to the 18th century, the Dutch East India company controlled the trade in the Straits (Ross et al., 1995). The British also recognised the need to control the Straits to ensure the safe passage of British merchant ships on their way to China, and in 1819 established a colony in Singapore. In 1824, the British and the Dutch ended their rivalry with a treaty whereby Britain agreed to "safeguard the Straits and keep them open for other friendly nations" (Chia,1998). In recent years, the Straits have become a very important trade route. In 1993 and 1995, over 100,000 oil and cargo vessels traversed through each year, carrying 3.23 million barrels of crude oil through the Straits each day (Sakura Institute of Research, 1998). Shipping accidents have been occurring more frequently recently, which is attributed to the heavy traffic in the Straits combined with shallow, narrow channels and shoals. Despite these hazards, economic efficiency dictates that vessels continue to use the Straits. The Straits are also rich in renewable and non-renewable resources, including productive coastal ecosystems, extensive capture fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, mining and valuable natural gas reserves. This chapter looks at the natural environmental conditions and the status of the coastal resources, the sustainability of existing activities, critical environmental problems and management. It is based on the Malacca Straits Environmental Profile (Chua et al.,1997) and other studies undertaken by the GEF/UNDP/IMO Regional Programme for Marine Pollution Prevention and Management in the East Asian Seas, which is referred to as the Regional Programme in this document.

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