FAST FIVE: Pirates Storm Korean Ship In The Singapore Strait; Steal Cash, Clothes And Shoes
For years, the area around the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab strait and the Gulf of Aden was the preferred venue for maritime pirates – mostly of Somali and Yemeni origin – who had become the scourge of Suez-crossing tankers headed to and from the Persian Gulf, at least until a coordinated military response by US and regional navies successfully eradicated much of the local piracy threat.
But as piracy off Africa's east (and occasionally west) coast faded, a nest of pirates appears to have re-emerged in the highly trafficked Singapore Strait in the South China Sea.
“Seven pirates, including one carrying a gun and two armed with knives, got on board and assaulted the sailors for about 30 minutes,” an official at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries told the Yonhap news agency.
The pirate attack takes place after China's Ministry of Transport raised its security recommendation for Chinese vessels in the nearby Malacca Strait, between the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra earlier this month.
While tougher policing on the route has made piracy less frequent on the strategic shipping route in recent years – similar to the decline in piracy off Africa's coastline – piracy has seen an increase on the world's seas, with the International Chamber of Commerce recording 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2018, up from 180 in 2017.