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Indonesian speedboats to pursue 'wily pirates'

8 January 2001

Navy gets speedboats to pursue wily pirates

Indonesian Observer

Jakarta - The Navy has acquired a new fleet of small, lightweight, powerful speedboats to pursue pirates operating in the Malacca Strait between Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore.

Deputy Navy Commander Admiral Fred C. Lonan yesterday said the speedboats will be more effective than big, cumbersome warships.

"Experience has shown that if we pursue them with big warships, the pirates can escape by sailing their boats into shallow waters that our warships cannot enter," Lonan was quoted as saying by Antara in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

In most cases the pirates use swift speedboats that easily elude the Navy's ex-World War II ships.

"Even the speedboats produced by [state ship-building firm] PT PAL in Subaraya a few years ago were often no match for the pirates' boats, which are extremely fast," said Lonan.

Pirates usually target oil tankers in the Malacca Strait because they have few crew members.

The pirates generally approach a tanker at dusk, throw long ropes with hooks onto the deck, swiftly climb aboard and then find the crew.

Equipped with firearms, the pirates usually encounter little resistance from crews.

They quickly remove all portable valuable articles from the tanker, especially hard currencies, and then flee back to their boat. A single operation can take as little as 15 minutes.

Lonan said an increasing number of international complaints about the rampant piracy in Indonesian waters have prompted the Navy to increase its patrols in waters most susceptible to crime.

"Although we only have meager facilities, patrols should be conducted regularly, because in deep waters the pirates can be surrounded and arrested after we have fired warning shots at them," he said.

The Navy's speedboats are currently concentrating on waters around Riau province's Batam Island, which is a haven for smugglers and pirates.

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

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