January 03, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Indonesian authorities on Saturday (December 31st) rescued a tug boat with nine crew believed to have been hijacked in the Straits of Singapore, the Piracy Reporting Centre of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Head Noel Choong said Monday.
The boat and barge it was towing were heading from peninsular Malaysia to Borneo Island and last made contact on December 27th before it was hijacked.
The barge, which had been towing a boat laden with heavy machinery and piling materials, was also recovered.
Choong urged authorities to step up patrols and ships to be vigilant in the Straits of Singapore, which saw 11 attacks in 2011, up from three in 2010.
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia increased patrols two years ago amid concerns that pirates planned to attack oil tankers.
The nearby Strait of Malacca, once the most hazardous shipping channel, has seen a lull in attacks in recent years following increased regional co-operation aimed at halting piracy.