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September 2, 2008

MISC bans ships from Gulf of Aden

Somali pirate activity could lead to a significant disruption of shipping trading patterns if other shipowners follow the example of Malaysia's MISC Bhd.

It has stopped sending vessels into the Gulf of Aden until additional security measures are in place to protect vessels and crews from piracy.

MISC stepped up its security measures after the seizure of its vessel Bunga Melati 2 on August 19. Those measures were in place aboard its vessel Bunga Melati 5. Nonetheless, that vessel, too, was seized by pirates on August 30.

"The vessel was sailing in international waters bordering the coast of Yemen and, on the advice of the coalition forces, Bunga Melati 5 kept within the vicinity of the designated security corridor," the Bernama news agency reports,

Reportedly, the two Malaysian vessels are now being held by Somali pirates off Eyl in Somalia's Puntland region, along with five or six other ships. According to a Bloomberg report, the pirates are demanding $4.7 million for release of the two Malaysian vessels. According to another report, because of the on-board supply of halal provisions, the pirates have made the Malaysian ships their headquarters for holding what is now a flotilla of hostage vessels.


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