"After 9/11, you cannot ignore the possibility of a maritime terrorism," said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan, but noted that law enforcement agencies in the region were on high alert when such large vulnerable vessels pass through the Malacca Strait.So, if you are on alert, you lessen the chance of terrorist attacks? How about that!
"Big vulnerable vessels don't go into the center of population, so it is not easy to achieve the type of results terrorists are looking for... which is worldwide publicity for a long period of time," Mukundan told reporters at a symposium to develop Asian waterways as a new cruising playground.
He said the vast majority of attacks on ships in the waterway _ which carries half of the world's oil and a third of its trade _ were opportunist, low-level crimes. There were only two recent maritime terrorist incidents _ the attack on the Limburg tanker off the coast of Yemen in October 2002 and a bomb placed on a superferry in the Philippines last year.
No great environmental problems were caused in the Limburg case and impact on commerce was minimal, said Mukundan, who works in the maritime watchdog's London office.
Mukundan welcomed the development of yachting and other tourism and commercial activities in Southeast Asian waters, saying it would spur governments into action.
"The more commerce and leisure activities, the greater the imperative on law enforcement agencies and governments to keep the waters safe. It's a multi-million-dollar industry and they will protect it," he added.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Maritime watchdog plays down fears of terrorist attack in Malacca Strait