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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 01:58 GMT 02:58 UK
Killings by pirates on the rise
Indonesian pirates
Indonesia suffered 50 attacks in the first half of 2004
The body that monitors piracy around the world has reported a sharp rise in the number of ships crew killed in the first half of 2004.

The International Maritime Bureau says 30 crew members were killed, twice as many as in the same period last year.

It is the highest number of piracy related killings for a decade, despite a global fall in the number of attacks.

Half of those killed were in Nigerian waters. Other hot spots were Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

"The increased ferocity and the number of attacks are linked to law and order problems ashore," the British-based bureau said in a report released by its piracy watch centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"The (Nigerian) authorities are under pressure and unable to respond adequately to attacks at sea."

Guns and knives

The number of attacks around the world fell by almost a quarter compared to the same period last year, but the situation in the Malacca Strait deteriorated.

Attacks on vessels in the world's busiest sea lane rose by 33%.

Last week, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore started coordinated naval patrols of the Straits in response.

Eighty two of the 182 incidents reported worldwide in the first half of the year happened in their waters, most of them in Indonesian territory.

Indonesia suffered 50 attacks, although the figure was lower than the 64 reported in the first half of last year.

"It was also the location where the greatest violence was experienced, with many of the pirates armed with guns and knives," the IMB said.

The IMB said it saw no signs that the attacks would abate "unless Indonesia takes serious steps to address the problem".

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