America

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Singapore & Indonesia: "We can protect Straits"

As reported in the The China Post
"Meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the military chiefs of the two countries agreed to step up military cooperation and increase personnel exchanges in an effort to improve the safety of the waterway that borders Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

'We have come to the conclusion that the Malacca Straits have to be secure from pirates,' Indonesian military chief Gen. Endriatono Sutarto told reporters. 'Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia can work together effectively in order to prevent such attacks.'

Just last week, pirates hijacked a tin-laden Indonesian ship traveling to Singapore and held the crew captive for two days while unloading the cargo in a Malaysian port, a maritime watchdog said Tuesday.

The pirates, believed to be Indonesians, fired gunshots at the ship and boarded it Friday shortly after it had left Muntok port on the southern tip of Sumatra island, said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.

'The crew members were warned they would be killed if they didn't cooperate,' Choong said.

The pirates eventually took the ship back into Indonesian waters and escaped in a speedboat, leaving the crew uninjured, Choong said.

Indonesia's waters are the world's most pirate-afflicted. Last year, 93 attacks _ more than a quarter of the worldwide total _ were in Indonesia. But that figure did not include another 37 attacks in the Straits of Malacca, a key shipping lane between Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia."
The proof of such protection, of course, is in the results, which, as set out above, are not all that impressive to date.

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