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March 4, 2010

Terror threat to Malacca Strait tankers

Tankers in the Malacca Strait may face terrorist attacks similar to the 2002 suicide attack in which an explosives laden boat holed the French tanker Limburg.

Wire services are quoting the Singapore Shipping Association as saying it has received an advisory from the Singapore Navy Information Fusion Center about "an indication that a terrorist group is planning attacks on oil tankers in the Malacca Strait" and that "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 advisory said. It noted that terrorists could use smaller vessels such as dinghies and speedboats to attack oil tankers.

Ships were advised to "strengthen their onboard security measures and to adopt community reporting to increase awareness and strengthen the safety of all seafarers," according to the association.

The Navy, which said it is coordinating with regional partners regarding the threat, recommended ships add lookouts and lighting, avoid fishing areas and maintain a good speed.


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