South China Sea, Strait of Malacca see rise in piracy

Several ships have been hijacked in the high seas off Malaysia this year; smaller vessels are also at risk.

By Grace Chen for Khabar Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur

Pirates have recently targeted large commercial ships sailing on both sides of the Malaysian Peninsula, but local small boat operators say their vessels are also vulnerable to crime.

Most cases reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) involve tankers and cargo ships. Many others – attacks on fishing boats, leisure boats and the like – go unreported, said Robert Hernandez, 53, a commercial diver based in Kajang, in Selangor state.

“When it comes to piracy, you usually hear of big ships facing such threats. Such operations are not without risk for the marauding parties. Do you know how difficult it is to board a moving ship, which can be travelling at speeds of 20 to 30 knots?” Fernandez, who also services and tunes outboard motors, told Khabar Southeast Asia.

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