Indonesian pirate attack thwarted off Malaysia
Malaysian maritime authorities said Tuesday they arrested six Indonesians attempting to rob a ship in the Strait of Malacca, the latest in a surge of piracy attacks in the strategic waterway.
The suspects were spotted by Malaysian patrols early Sunday morning as they tried to board a merchant vessel off southern Johor state near Singapore, Maritime Enforcement Agency chief Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar said.
“The pirates realised they were spotted and tried to flee on their boat but our patrol vessel gave chase and fired several warning shots before intercepting the pirate ship in Malaysian waters,” he told AFP.
He said the pirates appeared to have come from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam and had gathered in the area intending to rob three ships. An investigation was under way.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in June sent an alert to ships traversing the area, warning of a heightened piracy risk following the hijacking of three tugboats and a barge this year.
The global maritime watchdog has said the waterway, which is wedged between the
coast of Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, has seen a surge in reported attacks by armed pirates, with at least 41 incidents since January.
“We are pleased that the Malaysian authorities have arrested these pirates. It shows their commitment and seriousness in dealing with this menace,” Noel Choong, head of the IMB’s Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre, told AFP.
“Strong enforcement will deter pirates from attacking more ships in the area,” he added.