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Pirates Kidnap Tugboat's Captain, Chief Engineer In Malacca Straits

Pirates armed with machines guns kidnapped two senior crew members from a tugboat in a busy waterway between Malaysia and Indonesia, police said Saturday. About 20 men on two fishing boats forced the Singapore-flagged tugboat to stop in the Malacca Straits on Wednesday night, said a police official who declined to be named. The pirates, believed to be Indonesians, fired on the vessel, damaging its communication equipment, the official said. They robbed the 12 Myanmar and Indonesian crew members of their valuables, then abducted the vessel’s Indonesian captain and chief engineer, the official said. The tug was towing a barge to the Indian port of Bombay, also called Mumbai, when the incident happened, he said, adding that no ransom demands have been received. Some 25 pirate attacks were reported in the Malacca Straits _ a key shipping lane bordered by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore _ in the first nine months of this year. The three countries have launched joint naval patrols to curb piracy and deter maritime terrorism in the 900-kilometer (550-mile) waterway. Full Story

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