Indonesian Piracy Attack Deterred Off Malaysia, 6 Men Detained

Published Sep 21, 2011 11:23 AM by The Maritime Executive

AFP reports that Malaysian maritime authorities have arrested and detained six alleged Indonesian pirates after they attempted to rob a ship in the Strait of Malacca early Sunday morning.

Maritime Enforcement Agency chief, Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar, told AFP that the Indonesian suspects were located by patrol arms of Malaysian officials trying to board a merchant vessel near Singapore, off southern Johor.  Bakar added that the suspected pirates took notice that they were spotted, and tried to flee on their boat.  The Malaysian patrol vessel subsequently began to chase and fire warning shots at the men until they eventually intercepted the pirate ship.

Bakar believes that the pirates came from a nearby Indonesian island called Batam and had intentions of robbing three ships, with two failed attempts earlier.  He identified the suspects between the ages of 25 and 45.

The Strait of Malacca connects the Pacific Ocean to the east with the Indian Ocean to the west.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) released a statement in June alerting ships that there has been a recent surge of piracy between the coast of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, especially in the Strait of Malacca, citing 41 attacks since the beginning of 2011.

IMB official, Noel Choong, told AFP that they are very pleased with the stringent action of the Malaysian authorities, and that it shows their commitment with dealing with the menace of piracy.

An investigation of the incident is currently underway, and the men face charges of gang robbery, which carries up to a 20-year jail sentence and whipping.