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IMB urges no let-up in Malacca Straits anti-piracy campaign

Kuala Lumpur: There's good and bad news about the Malacca Straits in the latest report on piracy covering H1 2006 released by the International Maritime Bureau today.

Overall the report shows that the number of attacks reported worldwide during the period, 127, remained the same as for H1 2005. Ships were boarded in 74 instances, 11 ships were hijacked, 156 crew taken hostage, 13 crew kidnapped and six crew killed.

'The decline in attacks over the past two years would appear to have slowed down,' comments the IMB, adding that in high risk areas it remains 'vital that the governments ... give priority to this crime.'

The Malacca Straits is cited as one such area. The IMB notes that 'the decline continues' in the number of attacks ?" from eight in H1 2005 to three in H1 2006 - and says it 'calls upon law enforcement agencies to maintain the initiatives which have been successful' - a reference to coordinated naval patrols and eye-in-the-sky aerial reconnaissance. 'If the pressure lets up, the attacks will rise again,' warns IMB.

However, the Bureau also notes that three further incidents in the Malacca Straits have been reported in a two-day period since the end of June.

Indonesia recorded the highest number of attacks during the first half, 33, followed by Bangladesh with 22, all at Chittagong.

On a trial basis, copies of the IMB report are available free of cost to interested parties and can be requested via the website of parent body the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), Commercial Crime Services.  [25/07/06]

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