Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian maritime authorities
said today 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 said.
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 --
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 said.
"Strong enforcement will deter pirates from attacking
more ships in the area," he added.