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Friday, July 15, 2005

Anti-Malacca Pirate Developments

A newly set up marine police tactical unit is expected to assist in fighting piracy and kidnappings, especially in the Straits of Malacca.
Thirty officers have already been trained to take quick action in the event of any attack on vessels in the Straits of Malacca.

Marine police commander Senior Assistant Commissioner I Abdul Rahman Ahmad said for the time being, the focus of the tactical unit would be on the Straits of Malacca.

"The Straits of Malacca is used for international trade and attacks on vessels may affect the economy in the region,” he said.

"The unit can also be transported quickly by air if there is a need for them to conduct a rescue exercise in other areas, such as in Sabah. Eventually, a similar unit may be set up in Sabah and Sarawak, but we will have to consider several factors such as costs," he said.
Meanwhile, India announces some ship visits to the Malacca area:
The Indian naval aircraft carrier INS Viraat, accompanied by four other Indian naval ships namely INS Rajput & Ranjit (guided missile destroyers), INS Shakti (replenishment tanker) and INS Khukri (indigenously built missile corvette) are scheduled to be deployed overseas to countries in South East Asia...To ensure peace and stability in the region and prevent illegal activities such as smuggling, piracy, gunrunning, armed robbery, drugs trafficking and poaching etc, the Indian Navy conducts coordinated patrols with the Indonesian Navy in the six-degree channel separating both the countries. The first Indi-Indo-corpat was conducted in Sep 02 and since then four coordinated patrols have been successfully executed. The next patrol is scheduled to be held in Sep 05.
And a call for even more copperation:

Attacks on ships in the pirate-infested Straits of Malacca are unlikely to decline unless Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore share more intelligence, maritime security experts say.

The three countries straddling the straits began coordinated patrols last year after Washington said more needed to be done to protect the 50,000 commercial vessels that ply the waterway annually.

Experts at a seminar in Singapore marking the first anniversary of the patrols said Thursday that naval and coast guard cooperation are not enough to stop piracy and urged the three countries' police forces to step up information exchanges to help in the apprehension of pirates.

``We still have a significant problem,'' said Graham Gerard Ong, a piracy researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

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