Malaysia to boost Malacca Strait security
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) Thu Mar 10
said it will boost security
in the busy Malacca Strait with a 24-hour radar
system to guard against attacks by terrorists and pirates.
"We want to increase our sensor
capabilities especially at night, using radar
to conduct surveillance on traffic that goes through the strait," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also defence minister, was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
"We want to make sure that in the future, our capabilities in maritime enforcement is on par with international standards, to ensure the safety
of the users of the strait."
The 960-kilometre (600 miles) waterway bordered by Malaysia
is used by some 50,000 ships a year carrying a third of world trade
and half its oil
The three nations last year began coordinated patrols in the strait, which is one of the world's top piracy
blackspots. Asian and Western security
forces fear terrorists could hijack a tanker to use as a floating bomb in a maritime version of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Najib, who is currently on an official visit to Britain, said a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency would be operational by the end of the year to improve security in the strait.
has allocated 286 million ringgit (75 million dollars) to set up the agency which would focus on strengthening enforcement to curb terrorist and pirate attacks, illegal immigration, environmental damage and improve search and rescue
operations in the area, he said.
Since late 2003, there had been a steady increase in attacks and kidnappings in the strait and along the coast of Aceh, where a separatist revolt is being waged.
Four mariners were killed in pirate attacks in the strait last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Pirates captured three in Malacca Straits
TOKYO, March 14
Two Japanese men
and one Filipino were captured Monday during an attack by pirates on a tugboat in Malaysian territorial waters.
will do its utmost for their safe and early release," Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Japanese government has set up a task force to deal with the situation and has asked Malaysia, Indonesia
for assistance, reported the Kyodo news agency.
The Japanese coast guard said the Japanese-registered tugboat is named Idaten and was pulling the barge Kuroshio 1 when attacked by pirates.
The coast guard identified the kidnapped Japanese nationals as Capt. Nobuo Inoue and Chief Engineer
Indonesia hunts pirates in Malacca Strait
JAKARTA, March 15
Indonesia sent three navy
warships Tuesday on a hunt for pirates that captured three crew members of a Japanese-registered tugboat in the Malacca Straits.
First Admiral Abdul Malik Yusuf, spokesman for the Indonesian navy
, said a gang of armed pirates attacked the Idaten tugboat Monday night near Penang Island, off Malaysia.
"We're cooperating with the Malaysian and Singaporean navies in chasing them," Yusuf said.
The three kidnapped crew members were identified as two Japanese nationals -- the captain
and chief engineer
-- and a Filipino engineer. The tugboat's remaining 11 crewmen, as well as more than 150 workers of various nationalities aboard a barge that it was pulling, were safe.
Malaysian authorities believe the pirates took the three captured men
In a separate pirate incident, at least 35 gunmen stormed the MT Tri Samudra late Saturday while it was ferrying a full load of methane gas from Kalimantan province on Borneo island to Belawan on Sumatra island, the International Maritime Bureau said.
The bureau recorded 37 pirate attacks in the 885-kilometer-long Malacca Strait last year, up from 28 in 2003. Most attacks involved vessels being fired on and crew kidnapped for ransom.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have launched naval patrols to guard the trade
waterway in recent years.