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article imageMalaysian navy frees crew in second commando raid on pirates

By Christopher Szabo     Jan 22, 2011 in Crime
Kuala Lumpur - Reports of a second swift and successful raid against Somali pirates say the Malaysian Navy has liberated 23 crew, wounded three pirates and captured a further 20 in the Gulf of Aden.
Members of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s special forces unit foiled an attempt to hijack the Malaysian-owned tanker, MT Bunga Laurel, about 300 nautical miles (555 kilometres) east of Oman Thursday, according to Reuters, with reports coming in just hours ago. The rescue took place just hours before the South Korean operation.
Similarly to the Korean government, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said his government was studying international law on how to deal with the pirates:
"We will determine what we should do, whether we are going to bring them here to be tried or take any other appropriate action.”
The rescue, which occurred a few hours before the South Korean navy operation, began when a Malaysian Navy auxiliary ship, the Bunga Mas, received an emergency signal from the Bunga Laurel, which was 15 nautical miles (26 kilometres) away. Navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar said:
"At exactly 11.40 p.m., Bunga Mas 5 called MISC's Emergency Reporting Centre to report that Bunga Laurel had been attacked and pirates were attempting to board the ship by using skiffs.”
Malaysia’s The Star also quoted the prime minister, who said:
“I am proud of the success. They had acted efficiently and demonstrated their bravery in rescuing the tanker.”
The Star said the rescue was carried out by the Malaysian navy’s PASKAL special operations unit, which is similar to the US Navy SEAL teams. The PASKAL team boarded the ship, followed by an exchange of fire between the commandos and the pirates, in which three of the latter were wounded. The pirates then apparently surrendered.
The BBC reported an attack helicopter was also involved in the rescue, but did not specify the type or the action it carried out.
The two rescues within hours of each other are heartening news, but the BBC report points out that pirate attacks went up 10 percent from 2009 to 2010, with pirates taking an all-time high of 1,181 hostages in 445 attacks, hijacking 53 ships and killing eight sailors.
All this at least 30 major naval ships and the navies and air forces of the EU and NATO, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, India and China taking part in counter-piracy patrols.
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