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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Scary pirate story with every worst case scenario for the Strait of Malacca

Found here. Maybe just a tad overstated. Example:
Article 15 of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the high seas defines piracy as an act that in some way endangers the safe navigation of a ship on the high seas. Most acts of piracy in South-East Asia, however, occur within territorial waters that are not covered by the convention of its stipulation.

Captain Mukundan, the director of International Maritime Bureau, said: “What differentiates the attacks of today is that pirates are better armed. They expect greater returns and they are more determined, being more prepared to injure or even kill the captain and crew if they cannot get what they want.”

He reiterated: “Such crimes are planned well in advance, with ships usually targeted for their cargoes’ high value and easy disposal."

In March 2003, an Indonesian chemical tanker Devi Madrim was hijacked off Indonesia. The 10 armed men who seized the vessel steered it for an hour across the busy Malacca Straits and then stole the ship’s equipment and technical documents.

From 2002 to 2003, the number of those killed and taken hostage in pirate attacks has nearly doubled. According to Vijay Shakuja, pirates and maritime terrorists are currently accoutred with scuba-diving devices, mini submarines and GPS systems to destabilise the naval equilibrium of the whole region.

Singapore’s deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said: “Recent attacks have been conducted with utmost military precision, the perpetrators being well trained and having well laid out plans."

Indonesia’s state Intelligence Agency recently admitted that the Jemaah Islamiya has considered attacking the Malacca Straits.

An audiotape of Osama bin Laden’s recorded voice said: “The youths of Allah are preparing for you things that would fill your hearts with terror and target your economic lifelines...’’

An Al-Qaida spokesperson added: “It is no secret that one of the most effective ways to disrupt the global economy is by targetting oil supplies, the provision lines and the arteries of the crusader nations.’’

The Al-Qaida today owns 20 terror ships, at least nine of which are active. Five of these operate in the Asia-Pacific region. In September 2001, Singaporean authorities arrested 15 suspected Islamic militants who had planned to blow up US naval vessels, including a bus that was transporting American military service personnel.

Within July 2002, there were three attempted boardings off the Sumatran coast in the Malacca Straits, where terrorists attacked an LPG tanker, a gas tanker and an oil tanker, with five automatic assault rifles.

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