Piracy in the Strait of Malacca Piracy+ in the strait has risen in recent years. There were about 25 attacks on vessels in 1994, 220 in 2000, and just over 150 in 2003 (one-third of the global total). 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 of Malacca dropped, to 79 in 2005 and 50 in 2006.
There are 34 shipwreck+s, some dating to the 1880s, in the Traffic Separation Scheme+ (TSS), the channel for commercial ships. These pose a collision hazard in the narrow and shallow strait.
Another risk is the yearly haze+ caused by raging bush fires in Sumatra+. It can reduce visibility to
Thailand+ has developed several plans to diminish the economic significance of the strait. The Thai government has over the course of its history several times proposed to cut a canal+ through the Isthmus of Kra+, saving around from the journey from the Indian Ocean+ to the Pacific+. China+ has offered to cover the costs, according to a report leaked to ''The Washington Times+'' in 2004. Nevertheles, and despite the support of several Thai politicians, the prohibitive financial and ecological costs suggest that no such canal will go ahead.
A second alternative is to build a pipeline+ across the Isthmus of Kra+ to carry oil to ships waiting on the other side. Proponents say it would cut the cost of oil delivery to Asia+ by about $0.50/barrel ($3/m3). Burma+ has also made a similar pipeline proposal.
Early traders from Arabia+, Africa+, Persia+, and the Southern India+n kingdoms used to reach Kedah+ before arriving at Guangzhou+. Kedah served as a western port on the Malay Peninsula+. They traded glassware, camphor+, cotton goods, brocade+s, ivory+, sandalwood+, perfume, and precious stones. These traders sailed to 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 such as Langkasuka+ and Kelantan+. Ships from China came to trade at these eastern trading posts and ports. Kedah and Funan+ were famous ports through the 6th century, before shipping began to utilize the Strait of Malacca itself as a trade route.
In the 7th century the maritime empire of 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 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 ensured its economic and military domination in the region lasted for about 700 years. 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 of Malacca became the important maritime trade route between India and China. The importance of the Strait of Malacca in global trade networks continued well into later centuries with the rise of the Malacca Sultanate+ in the 15th century, the Johor Sultanate, and the rise of the modern city-state of Singapore+.
Strait of Malacca+ The Strait of Malacca (Malay/Indonesian: Selat Melaka/Malaka; Jawi: سلت ملاك) is a narrow, stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.