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Indonesia to intensify joint patrols to address pirate issue in Malacca Strait

JAKARTA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian authorities, along with their Singaporean and Malaysian counterparts, are highly expected to intensify sea patrols in Malacca Strait due to escalating piracy activities lately that cost international and national shipping business, an international transport workers organization said on Friday.

International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) said that escalation of sea piracy activities in one of the world's busiest waters has entered an alarming situation with some oil and gas tankers reportedly hijacked last month.

Head of ITF Asia Pacific Hanafi Rustandi said that the pirates were moving very fast, taking ship crew as hostages, seizing valuable goods, damaging communication instruments as well as ship engines before they fled from the scene.

"Those sea piracy acts were very worrisome and endanger (the) world's shipping business. They must be stopped," Hanafi said in a statement.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have engaged their police and troops to carry out joint patrols to address the issue in the strait, which is located in between their territories.

Hanafi identified as areas prone to piracy activities the waters between Indonesia's Rupat island and Malaysia's Port Dickson and waters between Indonesia's Big Karimun, Kundur and Batam islands which are close to Singapore.

Improving the security in those waters should be one of the major tasks for Indonesia's new government as the strait holds a crucial position in facilitating international vessels for international trade and serving as a crucial trade route for Indonesia itself as well.

According to ITF, there have been nine sea piracy cases in Malacca Strait so far this year, with the largest ones occurring on July 4 and 15 in which two large oil tankers of MT Moresby and MT Oriental Glory were attacked.

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