Malaysia and Indonesia Forming Special Anti-Piracy Teams

Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to form rapid response teams to tackle the growing number of hijackings and piracy attacks on commercial ships in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), Reuters reports.

The agreement comes after six merchant ships were attacked in the SOMS in the span of 48 hours last week.

The crews were unharmed in the incidents, with only the tanker Elbtank Denmark reporting loss of property as four perpetrators armed with knives stole the crew’s personal effects and escaped in a small boat.

The latest string of attacks brings the total number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the SOMS to 70 this year, the highest number since 2008.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has already set up an airborne special task and rescue team stationed in Johor Bharu, First Admiral Maritime Zulkifili bin Abu Bakar of MMEA told Reuters.

The newly established team will not only respond to reported hijackings and armed robberies, but also serve as a deterrent and actively guard merchant ships belonging to companies linked to the country’s government.

Maersk Line has also reportedly beefed up anti-piracy measures onboard ships passing through the SOMS, as one of its container ships – Maersk Lebu – was on of the six merchant ships attacked last week.

World Maritime News Staff