Friday, 1st August 2014

Indonesia alert over possible terror in Malacca strait

Sabtu, 6 Maret 2010 08:36 WIB | 614 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Singapore Shipping Association statement last Thursday (March 4) that it had received an advisory from the Singapore Navy Information Fusion Centre about "an indication" that a terrorist group is planning attacks on oil tankers in the Malacca Strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, has raised concern in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia as the three countries are the strait`s littoral states.

More than 30 percent of world trade and half the world`s oil shipments pass through the strait.

The warning said "this does not preclude possible attacks on other large vessels with dangerous cargo."

"The terrorists` intent is probably to achieve widespread publicity and showcase that it remains a viable group," the navy said in its advisory.

It reminded shipping operators that the militants could use smaller vessels such as dinghies and speedboats to attack oil tankers.

Pirates and robbers have also used small fishing vessels to board ships during previous attacks in the Malacca Strait.

In response to the warning, Indonesian Navy`s spokesperson, commodore Herry Setia Negara, said the navy had intensified its surveillance in the Malacca Strait through trilateral patrols with the Malaysian and Singaporean navies.

"The tight security will prevent terror attacks from happening in the 500-mile-long strait," he said.

Information from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said piracy in the Southeast Asian region had decreased by 70 percent due to the implementation of the joint patrol between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in the Malacca strait since 2004.

"This regional cooperation is a good example of how the three countries are working together to tackle terror attempts," said IMB representative.

Meanwhile, the chief of main naval base in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, - the closest area to Malacca strait - , Commodore SM Dorojatun, called on people not to panic over the news since the Indonesian Navy would increase its patrols on the sea to prevent terror acts from happening.

"We are alerted and concentrated to tackle this issue," he added.

Up till now, there are 12-15 Indonesian Navy ships placed in the Malacca strait starting from Sabang to Natuna area.

The ships` operation will be maximized to mitigate possible terror acts in the Malacca strait.

The chief of Riau Islands water police, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Yassin Kosasih, had also confirmed the recent terror alert from Singapore`s navy.

Yassin said he had sent four personnel from the anti-terror squad, six security personnel using cars and 21 water police to conduct regular patrols in the Malacca strait area.

"The anti-terror squad team also includes several snipers," he said.

The Malacca Strait is located between Sumatra island and the Malacca peninsula. Some 800 kilometers in length, the strait connects the Indian Ocean (west Asia) and the Pacific Ocean (east Asia) and has been one of the world`s trade center since the era of kingdoms in Indonesia.

The strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with more than 50,000 ships carrying almost one fifth of the world`s trading commodities passing through the area. (*)