Thursday, March 4, 2010

Terrorists 'target oil tankers' in the Malacca Strait

Published: 5/03/2010 | Bangkok post - SINGAPORE : An unidentified terrorist group is planning attacks against oil tankers in the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, a shipping association said Thursday.

The Singapore Shipping Association said it had received an advisory from the Singapore Navy Information Fusion Centre about "an indication that a terrorist group is planning attacks on oil tankers in the Malacca Strait."
It said "this does not preclude possible attacks on other large vessels with dangerous cargo."

"The terrorists' intent is probably to achieve widespread publicity and showcase that it remains a viable group," the navy said in its advisory.

It reminded shipping operators that the militants could use smaller vessels such as dinghies and speedboats to attack oil tankers.

Pirates and robbers have also used small fishing vessels to board ships during previous attacks in the Malacca Strait.

More than 30 per cent of world trade and half the world's oil shipments pass through the strait, which is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

The navy recommended that ships should "strengthen their onboard security measures and to adopt community reporting to increase awareness and strengthen the safety of all seafarers," according to the association.

One of the plots foiled by Singapore authorities was a plan by Islamic militants to hijack an airliner in Bangkok and crash it into Changi airport in 2001 following the September 11 attacks that year in the United States.

Singapore has also arrested several militants involved in a plot to bomb the US embassy and other targets in the city-state.