Melacca Strait or the Strait of Malacca or Straits of Malacca is a narrow 900 km (550-mile) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is named after the Malacca sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.
Piracy in the Strait of Malacca has for long[clarification needed] been a threat to ship owners and the mariners who ply the 900 km sea lane. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have sparked a dramatic downturn in piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The Strait of Malacca's geography makes the region very susceptible to piracy. It was and still is an important passageway between China and India, used heavily for commercial trade. The strait is on the route between Europe, the Suez Canal, the oil-exporting countries of the Persian Gulf, and the busy ports of East Asia. It is narrow, contains thousands of islets, and is an outlet for many rivers, making it ideal for pirates to hide in to evade capture.