Piracy on High Seas Jumps, Indonesia Worst Hit

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – Acts of piracy on the high seas jumped sharply in the first quarter of 2003 with troubled Indonesian waters attracting the most attacks, an ocean crime watchdog said on Thursday. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), already concerned at the alarming rise in global ship piracy, said attacks rose 18 percent to 103 over the first three months of this year from 87 recorded in the same period last year. In 2002 attacks worldwide rose steeply to 370 from 335 in 2001, IMB figures show.

It says attacks are increasingly violent, with militia using a range of high-tech weaponry including rocket-propelled grenades and sub-machine guns. It said Indonesia continued to be a blackspot with 28 attacks — the largest number for any country recorded. In April Indonesian authorities reported six attacks within a week before increased patrols drove the assailants away. The IMB said the greatest concentration of attacks happened around the Gelasa straits and the Anambas Islands. Nevertheless it praised the Indonesian Navy’s response to the problem that has been supplemented by detailed intelligence passed on by the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre. “It remains to be seen whether this will be a sustained trend,” said director of the IMB Capt. Pottengal Mukundan.

Bron: Reuters, 03-05-2003;