Indonesia concerned about growing “jihad piracy”

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Indonesia piracy
Anti-piracy drill by the Indonesian navy

The Indonesian government expressed concerns about increasing Islamist-related piracy on a shipping route along its sea border with the Philippines across the Sulu and Celebes Sea which it fears could reach “Somalian levels” and told vessels to avoid danger areas after a spate of recent kidnappings.

Analysts say the route carries $40 billion worth of cargo each year. It is taken by fully-laden supertankers from the Indian Ocean that cannot use the crowded Malacca Strait and need to sail along Indonesia’s southern coast and then head northwest, btu also by smaller cargo ships that are the main targets for the pirates.

In particular, maritime attacks by suspected Islamist militants are disrupting the coal trade, with at least two Indonesian coal ports having suspended shipments to the Philippines. Indonesia, the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, supplies 70 per cent of the Philippines’ coal imports.

Some 18 Indonesians and Malaysians have been kidnapped in three recent attacks on tugboats in Philippine waters off the southern Muslim-majority island of Mindanao by groups suspected of ties to the Abu Sayyaf militant network. Abu Sayyaf, which posted videos on social media pledging allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, has demanded 50 million pesos ($1.1 million) in ransom to free the Indonesian crew.

Among those kidnapped were 10 crew members on a vessel carrying coal from Banjarmasin, the main port in South Kalimantan province.

“We don’t want to see this become a new Somalia,” Indonesian chief security minister Luhut Pandjaitan said, adding that the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will meet in Jakarta on May 3 to discuss the possibility of joint patrols. Indonesia, on its part, already deployed two warships to the area.

The Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center warned ships sailing in the Celebes Sea and Sulu Sea, northeast and east of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo, to stay clear of “suspicious small vessels.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Anti-piracy drill by the Indonesian navy

The Indonesian government expressed concerns about increasing Islamist-related piracy on a shipping route along its sea border with the Philippines across the Sulu and Celebes Sea which it fears could reach “Somalian levels” and told vessels to avoid danger areas after a spate of recent kidnappings.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Indonesia piracy
Anti-piracy drill by the Indonesian navy

The Indonesian government expressed concerns about increasing Islamist-related piracy on a shipping route along its sea border with the Philippines across the Sulu and Celebes Sea which it fears could reach “Somalian levels” and told vessels to avoid danger areas after a spate of recent kidnappings.

Analysts say the route carries $40 billion worth of cargo each year. It is taken by fully-laden supertankers from the Indian Ocean that cannot use the crowded Malacca Strait and need to sail along Indonesia’s southern coast and then head northwest, btu also by smaller cargo ships that are the main targets for the pirates.

In particular, maritime attacks by suspected Islamist militants are disrupting the coal trade, with at least two Indonesian coal ports having suspended shipments to the Philippines. Indonesia, the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, supplies 70 per cent of the Philippines’ coal imports.

Some 18 Indonesians and Malaysians have been kidnapped in three recent attacks on tugboats in Philippine waters off the southern Muslim-majority island of Mindanao by groups suspected of ties to the Abu Sayyaf militant network. Abu Sayyaf, which posted videos on social media pledging allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, has demanded 50 million pesos ($1.1 million) in ransom to free the Indonesian crew.

Among those kidnapped were 10 crew members on a vessel carrying coal from Banjarmasin, the main port in South Kalimantan province.

“We don’t want to see this become a new Somalia,” Indonesian chief security minister Luhut Pandjaitan said, adding that the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will meet in Jakarta on May 3 to discuss the possibility of joint patrols. Indonesia, on its part, already deployed two warships to the area.

The Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center warned ships sailing in the Celebes Sea and Sulu Sea, northeast and east of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo, to stay clear of “suspicious small vessels.”

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