The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is a multinational agreement signed by 16 countries to promote cooperation and information sharing in a collective effort to rid Southeast Asian waters of pirates.
After pirate attacks reached a shockingly high level at the end of the 21st century, the countries of the region gathered together in an attempt to tackle the problem in a joint fashion. The first 16 countries signed the agreement in 2004.
ReCAAP hosts a government-to-government platform for information exchange that facilitates communication among participating governments. This helps improve response across the region by combining data and manpower with which all countries can analyze the landscape of Asian piracy.
The agreement also promotes the development of maritime security capabilities by helping countries establish an apparatus with which to tackle specific maritime security problems.
Since its inception in 2004 ReCAAP has had a large impact on counter-piracy efforts in the region. Incidents steadily increased over the 2000’s, and although they rebounded at the end of the decade, recent observations indicate that they may have stabilized in 2012.
Although 16 countries have signed so far, the full cooperation of Malaysia, and particularly Indonesia would greatly increase the impact of the treaty. This is because Indonesia is a special hotbed for pirate activity– its vast number of small islands offer an excellent safe haven for raiders.