Note that much of New Zealand’s oil is shipped through the Straits of Malacca
27 September, 2011
Indonesian police in Aceh, North Sumatra, have confirmed the arrest of four pirates they claim are part of a larger syndicate operating in the Malacca Straits. The syndicate is reportedly directed by a prisoner in a North Sumatran jail and claims to donate a cut of its spoils to charity.
Aceh police detected the pirates after they hijacked KM Galant, a Singaporean vessel traveling through the Malacca Strait in early September.
Pirates demanded a $77,000 ransom and police tricked them into believing they would be paid. Instead, four alleged pirates were arrested in the past week.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Michale Tene says it is likely the arrests pointed to a much larger network operating in the strategic trading zone.
"I will not be surprised if the piracy activities in the region are part of a larger syndication because, certainly, if a boat or ship is pirated then they [the pirates] have to take charge of the ship and cargo and that will involve quite a sophisticated organization to avoid detection of the maritime authorities of the literal states. I think it is not a surprise that such a syndication might exist," Tene said.
The narrow waterway between Malaysia and the Indonesian island, Sumatra, is one of the most important shipping zones in the world. Some 30 percent of the world's trade and half of the world's oil shipments cross the strait, making it an attractive target for pirates
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