Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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The International Maritime Bureau puts a little rational perspective on the story of terrorist pirates roaming the Straits of Malacca(if you know Greek that's amusing).
Capt Abhyankar said the information was not from IMB, and said the last workshop was held in June 2001 - 'well before al-Qaeda was even well known'.
He suggested the possibility could have been raised at an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) discussion on shipping security, but said there had been no incidents.
The report, which was picked up by wire services, also claimed the straits had suffered 649 piracy attacks last year - a figure 'totally out of proportion to reality', according to Capt Abhyankar.
He said there were only 17 attacks in the Malacca Straits in 2001, compared to 75 in 2000 - 'so there has in fact been a dramatic decline' - a trend which, he said, continued this year, with 18 attacks reported in the Malacca Straits in the first half of 2002.
Of those, the vast majority involved theft of crew belongings, stores or electronic equipment.
He added that IMB did not totally discount any maritime threat in the piracy hot-spots of South-east Asia, but considered the warnings attributed to Mr Watthanayakorn considerably less of a concern than many others.
'The threat is always there. But to be realistic, if you look at the carriage of nuclear materials, they are usually escorted by one of the navies of the countries concerned. I think the industry is taking what precautions are appropriate.'
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