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The '''Strait of Malacca''' (; Jawi+: سلت ملاک) or '''Straits of Malacca''' is a narrow, stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula+ (Peninsular Malaysia+) and the Indonesia+n island of Sumatra+. It is named after the Malacca sultanate+ that ruled over the archipelago+ between 1400 and 1511.

The International Hydrographic Organization+ defines the limits of the Strait of Malacca as follows:

::''On the West.'' A line joining Pedropunt, the Northernmost point of Sumatra+ () and Lem Voalan the Southern extremity of Goh Puket [Phuket Island+] in Siam [Thailand+] ().

::''On the East.'' A line joining Tanjong Piai+ (Bulus), the Southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula+ () and The Brothers () and thence to Klein Karimoen ().

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

::''On the South.'' The Northeastern coast of Sumatra as far to the eastward as Tanjong Kedabu () thence to Klein Karimoen.

From an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.

The strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean+ and the Pacific Ocean+, linking major Asian economies such as India+, China+, Japan+, Taiwan+, and South Korea+. Over 94,000 vessels pass through the strait each year, carrying about one-fourth of the world's traded goods, including oil, Chinese manufactured products, and Indonesian coffee+. 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., Energy Information Administration+, US Department of Energy+ In addition, it is also one of the world's most congested shipping choke point+s because it narrows to only 2.8 km (1.5 nautical mile+s) wide at the Phillips Channel (close to the south of Singapore+).

The maximum size of a vessel that can pass through the Strait is referred to as Malaccamax+. For some of the world's largest ships (mostly oil tankers+), the Strait's minimum depth (25 metres or 82 feet) isn't deep enough. In addition, the next closest passageway (the Sunda Strait+) is even more shallow and narrow than Malacca. Therefore, these large ships must detour several thousand miles/kilometers and use the Lombok Strait+, Makassar Strait+, Sibutu Passage+, or Mindoro Strait+ instead.

Piracy+ has been a problem in the strait. 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, 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. Nevertheless, and despite the support of several Thai politicians, the prohibitive financial and ecological costs suggest that such a canal will not be built.

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 reached 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+. He was defeated by Rajendra Chola+ of the Chola empire from ancient South India.

* Early history of Kedah+
* Malaccamax+
* Malacca Strait Bridge+
* Malacca Town+
* Mangroves of the Straits of Malacca+
* Piracy in the Strait of Malacca+
* Sultanate of Kedah+
* Battle of the Malacca Strait+

*Borschberg, Peter, ''The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century'' (Singapore and Leiden: NUS Press and KITLV Press, 2010).
*Borschberg, Peter, ed., ''Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka Area and Adjacent Regions (16th to 18th Century)'' (Wiesbaden and Lisbon: Harrassowitz and Fundação Oriente, 2004).
*Borschberg, Peter, ed. ''The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre. Security, Trade and Society in 17th Century Southeast Asia'' (Singapore: NUS Press, 2013).
*Borschberg, Peter, ed., ''Journal, Memorials and Letters of Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge. Security, Diplomacy and Commerce in 17th Century Southeast Asia'' (Singapore: NUS Press, 2015).
*Borschberg P. and M. Krieger, ed., ''Water and State in Asia and Europe'' (New Delhi: Manohar, 2008).


Library resources box

* (National Bureau of Asian Research+, November 2010)
* (1978) by Michael Leifer

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Strait of Malacca+ The Strait of Malacca (Malay: Selat Melaka, Indonesian: Selat Malaka; Jawi: سلت ملاک) or Straits of Malacca is a narrow, 805 km (500 mi) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.