While piracy may be rampant off the coast of Somalia, it’s actually on the decline in another, even more highly trafficked sea route.

“It will be very difficult to copycat the Somalia situation in Asia,” said Noel Choong, head of the Piracy Reporting Center at the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “The governments here are more committed and have more resources. In fact, the attacks here are coming down.”

A regional piracy-monitoring agency in Singapore said maritime attacks in Asia in the first nine months of the year dropped 11 percent compared to 2007 and 32 percent from 2006.

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This is good news, as 40% of the world’s seaborne trade passes through the Strait of Malacca, a thin avenue [shaded dark blue on the map] between Malaysia and Indonesia. And while increased government anti-piracy activity – something that actual functioning states are much more capable of — has certainly played a role in vanquishing Southeast Asian pirates, it also helps that, whereas Somali pirates are typically “very heavily armed,” their Southeast Asian counterparts “usually just have knives.”

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