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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 14:51 UK

Piracy 'spike' in South China Sea

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Piracy in the South China Sea has hit a five-year high, an international monitoring agency has said.

According to the ReCAAP monitoring centre, there have been 10 reports of sea attacks so far this year, compared to the previous high of nine in 2005.

Tankers and large container ships are most vulnerable to pirate attacks, said ReCAAP, because they are slow moving.

The latest attack was on Saturday, when six pirates boarded a tanker off Indonesia and robbed the crew.

ReCAAP, which stands for the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, said pirates were also active in the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Singapore, with five boardings and one attempted boarding.

Most of the incidents involve pirates robbing the crew and stealing stores from ships, unlike in the waters off Somalia where ships and their crews are often held for ransom.



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