Pirates attack UN ships in the Malacca Strait

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

According to a maritime regulator, pirates have attacked two UN-contracted ships in the {{|Malacca Strait]].

Reports say that no personnel on the ships were harmed, but the pirates took money and building materials belonging to the UN's World Food Programme.

Noel Choong, of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy centre in Malaysia, said the two ships were sailing from Sumatra to Aceh when the pirates struck. "The attacks took place not far apart from each other. There is a possibility that they were carried out by the same pirates," Mr Choong revealed.

The attacks have boosted fears that piracy is escalating in the area. "We hope the two attacks are isolated incidents and not a start of more attacks," Mr Choong added.

The Malacca Strait is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world, and for centuries, piracy has been a notorious threat in the Strait.

In 2005, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand announced they would start air patrols in a bid to tackle the threat from piracy.