As an archipelagic nation, Indonesia has plenty of natural resources, including renewable resources (e.g. fisheries, coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass), non-renewable resources (e.g. oil, gas, and minerals), maritime energy (e.g. wave power, tidal power, current power, and ocean thermal energy conversion), and the sea, as a medium for business on environmental service (e.g. transport, communication, attraction, education, research, and security). If managed and developed optimally, these resources can earn Indonesia at least US$ 1.2 trillion annually. To manage and develop such resources, Indonesia needs a robust legal framework, especially to regulate the rights and obligations of the government in managing and developing the vast ocean and waters. After 69 years of independence, Indonesia enacted Law No. 32 of 2014 on Maritime ("Maritime Law") to hopefully provide an effective legal framework for managing and developing the country's maritime resources.

The Maritime Law regulates the implementation of integrated and sustainable Indonesian marine resources for national welfare. The implementation covers several aspects including the territorial seas, maritime development, marine management, marine cultivation, marine space management and protection of marine environment, law enforcement, sea safety and government institutions.

Article 13 of the Maritime Law requires maritime development to be conducted throughout the preparation and implementation of government policies on maritime resources, law enforcement and safety at sea, government institutions, welfare improvement, marine space management and protection of marine environment and maritime culture. In management aspects, Article 14 of Maritime Law further regulates that the utilization of maritime resources (i.e. fishery, energy and minerals, coast and small island resources, and nonconventional natural resources) must be for the maximum benefit of the Indonesian people. The government must develop the Indonesian maritime industry, which includes biotechnology, marine industry (establishing shipyards, procurement and manufacturing of spare parts, ship tools, and/or ship maintenance) and maritime service (training and education of ship crews, salvage of precious goods from sunken ship, dredging and cleaning shipping routes, reclamation, search and rescue, environment remediation, construction service, and/ or river, lake, and inter-island transport).

Regarding marine space management and the protection of marine environment in Indonesia, Article 47 of Maritime Law allows individuals to exploit the marine space within the territorial seas (inland waters, archipelagic waters and territorial waters) and jurisdictional seas (supplementary zone, Indonesian exclusive economic zone and continental shelf), on the condition that they must obtain a location permit prior to exploiting marine spaces. A person who undertakes exploitation activities which are different to his/her permit will be given an administrative sanction, e.g. written warning, temporary suspension, site closure, permit revocation, permit retraction and/or administrative fine. However, Article 49 of Maritime Law states that a person who exploits the marine space without a permit may face 6 years of imprisonment and fines of up to 20 billion Rupiah.

The Maritime Law also covers issues related to marine pollution. According to Article 52 of Maritime Law, marine pollution can be derived from the land, sea and air that occurs inside or outside the territorial/jurisdictional sea or from territorial/jurisdictional sea to the outer Indonesian jurisdictional sea. Moreover, Article 52 paragraph 3 of Maritime Law determines the process of dispute resolution, and imposes the sanction for marine pollution, which is under the "polluters-pay" basis and prudence principle.

Lastly, the Maritime Law aims to improve security, defense, and safety at sea. Even though Indonesian sovereignty does not spread to international waters, Article 11 of Maritime Law obliges the government to combat international crimes, prevent and mitigate pollution by coordinating with other nations or international organizations, and to protect national ships. Consequently, according to Article 58 and Article 59 paragraph (3) of Maritime Law, the government establishes a governmental institution called the Sea Security Agency (Badan Keamanan Laut) ("SSA") to replace the Sea Security Coordination Agency (Badan Koordinasi Keamanan Laut/Bakorkamla). The SSA is the law enforcement which conducts safety patrol within Indonesian territorial and jurisdictional seas.

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