Monday, January 16, 2017

Philippines, piracy, and business

StrategyPage on Piracy. 

we have had small ships attacked in the south, and many Filipinos work on merchant ships and are at risk. But now it's not just Somalia and Nigeria threatening shipping: The pirates are back at it in the straits of Malacca.

While there are plenty of targets off Nigeria and the southern Philippines, there are even more near the Malacca Strait. Over 50,000 large ships moving through the Strait of Malacca each year and nearly as many of the smaller ships the pirates favor for cargo hijacking. That’s lots of targets. The 800 kilometer long strait is between Malaysia and Indonesia and is 65 kilometers wide at its narrowest and depth are generally 27-37 meters (90-120 feet). The shallow and tricky waters in the strait forces the big ships to go slow enough (under 30 kilometers an hour) for speed boats to catch them.
here is a map
U.S. Energy Information Administration.

from TodayInEnergy 2013 ...article notes: 

Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important energy trade routes in the world. Almost a third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between African and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asian consumers. The strait is a critical transit chokepoint and has become increasingly important over the last two decades. In 1993, about 7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products (20% of world seaborne oil trade) passed through the Strait of Malacca, according to the Center for Naval Analysis. EIA estimates that by the end of 2011, trade through Malacca was greater than 15 million bbl/d, or about one-third of all seaborne oil. In comparison, the world's most important chokepoint for maritime transit, the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, had an oil flow of about 17 million bbl/d in 2011 (see World Oil Transit Chokepoints). Average daily oil consumption worldwide in 2011 was about 88.3 million bbl/d.

see previous post about China's plan for a maritime silk road, and you can see why China is grabbing the South China sea's islands. And remember: Singapore is the third Chinese country in Asia (China, Taiwan, and Singapore).

Exploiting Singapore’s regional familiarity could help Chinese companies navigate local politics complicated by tensions over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

much of the route is near the Philippines, but the Obama administration helped fight terrror in the south (the Moros are traditional pirates) but then cut back and even tried to destroy Duterte in the name of "human rights". No, I don't defend Duterte pulling a dirty harry, but the alternative is chaos and corruption as the drug lords take over the corrupt politicians.

So Obama sat back as China built their island in the Spratlys, and now refuses to help Duterte with rifled used against terror, because human rights or something.

There is a lot more geopolitical stuff going on here, and Obama has blown it because the "Deplorables" in the Philippines prefer a dirty harry type approach to crime and corruption.

and some suggest a country with less crime and corruption will be good for business, and that includes China, Japan, Russia etc.

Japan Times article.August 2016:

While Duterte may be getting headlines for a bloody war against drug dealers and users, less attention has been paid to one of Asia’s few economic success stories.
The groundwork was laid by Duterte’s predecessor, President Benigno Aquino, who took growth above 6 percent over his six-year term, but executives are also cheering the new administration’s focus on building new infrastructure and say it could spell the start of a long-term boom.
Some even see Duterte’s violent and highly controversial anti-drugs campaign as potentially positive. “We are in a very good spot,” said Antonio Moncupa Jr., president and CEO of East-West Banking Corp., one of the top 10 lenders in the country. “The pronouncement of government prioritizing infrastructure spending, accelerating it and cutting red tape, solving peace and order, I think all point to very good prospects ahead.”
The US press just leaves their posh Makati hotel room and finds a family member of a "victim" and voila headlines. But they never figure out that in Filipine culture, you answer the person what they want to hear (which usually is only partly true). In other words, the US MSM wants a story and can easily fill in the blanks.

What they aren't noticing is that you are a lot safer.

And with all the Trump bashing in the US press, they are missing the real story:

Trump "knows nothing" about diplomacy, but his family and extended business connections have strong Asian ties. Link2 that are well covered in the business section of the newspapers.

and you won't have to go to Wikileaks to follow the money.

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