On 19 June 2017, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines launched the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas Patrol (SSSP), a framework of maritime security cooperation aimed at protecting the Sulu Sea and Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea from maritime crimes. The three nations had announced that their cooperation might be modelled on the Malacca Straits Patrol (MSP), a similar form of cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand to safeguard the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. This article primarily compares both cooperative frameworks, and argues that the SSSP should be modelled on the MSP, subject to certain conditions. Where there are insufficient best practices in the MSP, this article contrasts the SSSP with other similar cooperative frameworks, including the Combined Maritime Forces and the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy. In addition, this article also discusses the relationship between the SSSP and MSP on one hand, and the ASEAN maritime security mechanisms on the other hand.
Since President Joko Widodo took office in 2014, he has placed maritime governance at the top of his agenda, as evidenced by the introduction of his vision on Indonesia as a ‘global maritime fulcrum’. This article discusses how his administration has been working towards such a goal. First, it provides an overview of Indonesian laws related to maritime governance. Second, it looks at the institutions responsible for administering, enforcing, and/or applying those laws and how they have been performing their functions. Third, it explores how those institutions cooperate with external parties in four areas of Indonesia’s major interest at present: maritime security; safety of navigation; protection of the marine environment; and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Lastly, this article also discusses the challenges faced by the State in governing its maritime affairs and offers suggestions for a better maritime governance.