Pirate attacks on ships in the South Pacific are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Some see a connection to Islamic terrorism. From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
SINGAPORE: Attacks on ships by sea pirates in South-East Asia are resembling military operations – growing bolder, more violent and fuelling fears of an attack that would cripple world trade, Singapore said yesterday. …
“But the last piracy attack that took place in the Straits of Malacca showed a different pattern,” he added.
The pirates were well-armed, operating sophisticated weapons and commanding high-speed boats.
“They conducted the operation almost with military precision,” Tan said.
“Instead of just ransacking the ship for valuables, they took command of the ship, and steered the ship for about an hour, and then eventually left with the captain in their captivity,” he said.
“To all of us, this is reminiscent of the pattern by which terrorists mount an attack.” …
Singapore has repeatedly warned of the potential link between pirates and religious militant networks such as Jemaah Islamiah, blamed for the deadly 2002 bomb blasts in the Indonesian island of Bali and widely linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.
“We are concerned that terrorists may seize control of a tanker with a cargo of lethal materials, LNG (liquefied natural gas) perhaps, chemicals, and use it as a floating bomb against our port,” Tan said.
“This would cause catastrophic damage, not only to the port but also for people, because our port is located very near to a highly dense residential area.
“Thousands of people would be killed,” he said.