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Wawasan Nusantara ( Archipelagic Concept )

Indonesia is comprised of 17,508 islands and has a territorial area of 5 193 250 square kilometres.68 It is the world's largest archipelagic state and is located in the heart of South East Asia. Indonesia's sea-lanes have long been a key highway for naval vessels sailing between the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. All maritime traffic transiting South East Asia must enter Indonesian waters at some point.

According to the Law of the Sea Convention, an archipelago is "a group of islands, including parts of islands, interconnecting waters and other natural features which are so closely interrelated that such islands, waters and other natural features form an intrinsic geographical, economic and political entity, or which historically have been regarded as such."

Indonesia has a well documented history for claiming to be an archipelagic nation. Indonesia's word for 'fatherland' - 'tanah air', means 'the land and the water'. Historically, Indonesia has always regarded the seas within its archipelago as internal waters and has resented historical colonial powers transiting through its waters without regard to its sovereignty.

In 1957, during a particularly volatile period, Indonesia announced the policy of 'Wawasan Nusantara' (Unity / Archipelagic Outlook) to provide a symbol of unity. On December 13, 1957, the Indonesian Government issued a declaration on the territorial waters of the Republic, stating that al the waters surrounding and between the islands in the territory came within indonesia's sovereignty.

The Djuanda Declaration was ratified by Legislative/Assembly with the enactment of Act No.4 regarding Indonesian Waters on February 18, 1960. The bill expanded Indonesia's overall territory by about 2.5-fold, from 2,027,087 sq km to 5,193,250 sq km. This domestic legislation declared Indonesia an archipelagic state and prescribed baselines around all Indonesia's islands and enclosed all waters within the island chains. Indonesia claimed a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles and claimed all waters within its designated baselines as 'internal waters'. It demanded that all international vessels transit its designated internal waters under the regime of 'innocent passage'. This declaration was met with almost universal international condemnation. The declaration was ignored by maritime states and Indonesia did not choose to enforce it.

On 28 July 1962 the Act on Innocent Passage was enacted. The Act deals with navigational conduct and establishes the operational criteria by which to determine the "innocent" character of maritime passge through its waters. It also contains regulations which must be obliged by foreign ships intending innocent passage. Under the July 1962 Regulation No. 8 that defined the 12 mile limit of the territorial sea, foreign warships and other noncommercial vessels must give notice before entering the territorial sea. This requirement is not recognized by the US, which conducted operational assertions in 1992, 1993, 2000-3.

West Malaysia and East Malaysia are separated by the South China Sea, which is dotted by two small groups of Indonesian islands, namely the Anambas and Natuna islands. The archipelagic boundary as claimed by Indonesia would enclose both those groups of small islands within the Indonesian archipelago. The effect of that claim would result in the sudden severance of the free access and all forms of communications which Malaysia had always enjoyed through the high seas between the two parts of its territory. Consequently, it would be deprived of links that were vital to the maintenance of its geographical, economic and political unity as a sovereign and integral nation State. The situation of Malaysia was unique in that respect.

As an Archipelagic State, Indonesia has the right to designate Sea Lanes for "continuous and expeditious" passage of foreign shipping through its waters and the adjacent Territorial Sea. At the same time the State has an obligation to accurately chart such Sea Lanes and to facilitate safe navigation by publishing appropriate and correct navigational charts.

In May 1996, Indonesia submitted the first (and only) proposal for the designation of three Archipelagic Sea Lanes (ASLs) within its archipelago to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The IMO has claimed the mandate of being the 'competent international organisation' referred to in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) for designating ASLs. Under the August 1996 Act No. 6, Indonesia claimed archipelagic status, enabling legislation for straight baselines.

Indonesia proposed three Archipelagic Sea Lanes (ASLs) running in a north-south direction that international shipping could use with minimal restrictions to pass through Indonesian waters. Indonesia proposed three north-south sea-lanes: through the Sunda and Karimata straits to the South China Sea; through the Lombok and Makassar straits to the South China Sea, and from the Indian Ocean and Arafura Sea north of Australia to the Pacific Ocean via the Molucca Sea in Indonesia.

The United States and several allies pressed Indonesia to open its waters more widely to free passage of foreign warships, especially submarines. These countries believed that Indonesia should designate as special sea-lanes routes that were traditionally used by international shipping. The United States, Britain and Australia, supported in principle by Japan, wanted Indonesia to agree to an east-west sea-lane as well. It would connect directly with the Malacca Strait, the route used by most ships traveling between East Asia and the Gulf. Indonesian officials, said that many of the proposed additional sea-lanes were too shallow or had become too crowded with local vessels and oil and gas rigs for safe passage by foreign naval vessels, especially submerged submarines.

After significant protests from major maritime countries including Australia and the United States (a prominent non-signatory to the LOSC), the IMO declared Indonesia's submission a 'partial designation' of ASLs. This provided maritime countries a significant victory as the declaration has rendered the Indonesian ASLs practically useless because because there is no compulsion for maritime countries to use them.

The December 2003 Regulation No. 37 officially designates and lists coordinates for partial system of archipelagic sea lanes; other lanes through archipelago to be used in innocent passage only. (Regulation actually dated June 2002; IMO interprets as effective December 2003.) The US position is that since the designation is partial, archipelagic sea lanes passage still applies to all routes normally used for international navigation. Under the July 1962 Regulation No. 8, Indonesia claimed to restrict "stopping, dropping anchor, and/or cruising about without legitimate reason" in high seas "adjoining" Indonesian territorial waters; "adjoining" officially interpreted to extend up to 100 miles seaward of Indonesian territorial waters. This claim is not recognized by the US.

The Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Malaysia signed an agreement on March 17, 1970, delimiting the territorial sea boundary between the two states in the Strait of Malacca. The treaty came into force on March 10, 1971. Both Indonesia and Malaysia claim a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea. The territorial sea boundary (TSB) establishes a boundary in a narrow section of the Strait of Malacca extending from 0251'6N., 10100'2E,; to 0115'0N., 10322'8E. The respective TSB's claimed by each state differ in length because of the small area of high seas that remains in the Strait. The Indonesian TSB is 174 and the Malaysian TSB 173 nautical miles in length.

As a consequence of a series of three agreements, the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea, on the one hand, and Indonesia, on the other, have delimited territorial sea and continental shelf boundaries between the respective states. The agreements create, north of the island of New Guinea, a single-segment boundary extending northward from the shore for a distance of approximately 27 miles. The boundary terminates in water depths approaching 1500 fathoms (2,743 meters). In the south, the boundary extends along the western reaches of the Torres Strait and the Arafura Sea and stops near the limits of the former Portuguese territory of Timor. After the Timor gap, an area currently undelimited, the maritime boundary resumes and is delimited southwestward through the Timor Sea.

On December 18, 1978, Papua New Guinea and Australia signed a treaty at Sydney concerning sovereignty and maritime boundaries in the area between the two countries, including the area known as Torres Strait, and related matters. The boundary between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, in the Pacific Ocean north of the Island of New Guinea, extends nearly due north from the coastal terminus of the land boundary to a point approximately 27 miles seaward. Because both states claim 12-mile territorial sea breadths, the single-segment boundary serves as both a territorial sea and, in part, a continental shelf boundary. The geologic shelf north of the island, however, is very narrow; and within a few miles of the shoreline, water depths in excess of 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) are encountered. As a result, the terminus of the shelf boundary is approximately 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) of water, well beyond existing limits of exploitability.

Since 1990, Indonesia has had three french built research vessels, KAL Baruna Jaya I, II, and III. For this project KAL BARUNA JAYA I (originally an oceanographic vessel) and KAL BARUNA JAYA II (originally a hydrographic vessel) are used for surveying the sealanes passing through the Indonesian archipelago. Each are specially equipped with a 30 feet surveylaunch for nearshore and shallow water surveys. The vessels are owned by BPPT, and manned by DisHidros Officers and Crew, a Blom Dantarsa Survey Team, and a survey team of counterparts from BAKOSURTANAL and BPPT.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:37:48 ZULU