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Monday, February 28, 2005

Singapore goes proactive- will provide escorts

As a comment to an earlier posting kindly noted, the Singapore government has announced
Singapore soldiers will board and escort commercial ships deemed vulnerable to terrorist attack, including cruise liners, while they are in Singapore waters, the government said on Monday.

Ships will be evaluated according to previous ports of call, types of cargo and other data. Those deemed "high-risk" will be escorted through Singapore's waters near the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

as reported here.
Singapore's authorities have sounded repeated warnings that a plague of sea piracy in the narrow, 805-km (500-mile) long Malacca Strait -- through which more than a quarter of world trade and almost all oil imports to Japan and China pass -- could lead to a terrorist attack.

The three littoral states -- Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia -- began coordinated sea patrols in July, and Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to look at extending intelligence sharing.

It was not immediately clear if Singapore's neighbours plan similar escorts.

Interesting development, and one that makes great good sense.

Hat tip to reader Chris Lock.

Update: The Philippines have increased port security, too:
On 16 Feb, a local Philippine
radio station reported the Philippine Coast Guard is increasing security in the country's major ports in the wake of the Feb 14
bomb attacks. A Philippine Coast Guard spokesman said intelligence operatives in plainclothes were deployed in
various ports. The Philippine National Police Maritime Group also tightened security in Visayas and Mindanao following the explosions in Davao and General Santos. At least six sea marshals were assigned to ensure the safety of passengers in every ship. Marines have also been on foot patrol in various ports since Feb 15th and x-ray machines were installed to check passenger's baggage.
report from the Feb 23 ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping report, found here

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