"The two men were kidnapped last weekend when a gang of 35 pirates armed with machine guns and rocket launchers boarded their tanker. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of two billion rupiah (214,000 dollars) from the shipowners, Humpuss Intermoda Transport."
Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 11:46 GMT
The spokesman said the hostage-takers had not been identified, and he did not know whether a ransom was paid.
Search-and-rescue teams are still looking for the captain and two crewmen of a Japanese tugboat, kidnapped in the Malacca Strait on Monday.
Around a quarter of the world's trade and half of its oil supplies pass through the Malacca Strait, which is considered a hotspot for piracy.
The two Indonesians were kidnapped on Saturday or Sunday last week when a gang of more than 30 pirates armed with machine guns and rocket launchers boarded the Indonesian-registered ship.
The kidnappers demanded a ransom of two billion rupiah ($211,449, £110,000) from the owners of the ship.
A Japanese tugboat was attacked on Monday
On Monday, at least 10 pirates opened fire on a Japanese-flagged tug, the Idaten, and boarded it.
Eleven crew members made it safely to the Malaysian port of Penang, but the Japanese captain and engineer, and a Filipino crewman were captured.
On Friday Malaysian marine police said they had detained four Thais and a Malaysian suspected of involvement in the assault.
The Indonesian navy spokesman said the whereabouts of the hostages are still not known, but added: 'We hope that with the arrest in Malaysia they will soon be found.' "
It's Saturday night and here's a real life pirate story.
This seems to be in your bailiwick.
Just like in other terrorist attacks, they go out of their way not to hurt Muslims.
RI reiterates opposition to foreign powers patrolling Malacca Strait
Indonesia reiterated on Wednesday its opposition to foreign militaries helping to guard the Malacca Strait against terrorist attacks, despite welcoming their help for humanitarian efforts following the tsunami disaster.
Vice Adm. I Wayan Rampih Argawa, deputy chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy, said Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia were already conducting coordinated naval patrols in the area and there was no need for an outside power to get involved.
"Our stand is that other international stakeholders should help in information and intelligence sharing, but not to send military patrols," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a regional meeting on maritime security cooperation.
The waters in the Malacca Strait are "within the jurisdiction of the coastal states and to send (an outside) military power there, we will not allow that," he said.
The Malacca Strait is bordered by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The narrow waterway and the adjacent Singapore Strait host two of the world's busiest commercial shipping lanes.
Security analysts and officials have called for increased international cooperation to beef up security in the area after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in the United States.
Merchant ships plying the routes are regarded as potential targets for terrorists aiming to cripple global trade, while piracy has long been a problem in certain parts of the Malacca Strait.
However, the involvement of outside military powers to patrol the Malacca Strait has been a sensitive issue because of the issue of national sovereignty. (3/2/05 Jakarta Post)
Ambassador Marie T. Huhtala, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations; Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
March 10, 2005
"Finally, we are very interested in seeing Indonesia act as a stabilizing and responsible force in the region. Indeed, the United States has always viewed Indonesia as a pillar of regional security in Southeast Asia. In the past, Indonesia played a significant leadership role in regional institutions such as ASEAN and APEC. We look forward to seeing Jakarta reassert this prominent position in international fora and institutions. Our two countries share the important strategic objective of a stable Southeast Asian region that is free of transnational threats, including terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, smuggling, and trafficking in persons. American interests are best served by a democratic, prosperous Indonesia that respects and protects the rights of its citizens, is secure within its borders and is able to defend itself against transnational threats. For that reason, we firmly support the territorial integrity of Indonesia.
Indonesia needs to be strong in order to manage successfully the many challenges of this age. Maritime security is one of the more important challenges it faces. The strategic sea lanes that pass through and along Indonesian territory carry roughly 30% of the world's sea-borne trade and are key transit routes for the U.S. naval fleet. Half the world's oil passes through the Malacca Strait. Indonesia's vast archipelago is difficult to monitor. We stand ready to assist Indonesia to address this important challenge in ways that we will decide on jointly, and we already have begun the effort to encourage the growing cooperation between Indonesia and its neighbors in this important field.
As the worlds largest Muslim-majority country, Indonesia has a key role to play in demonstrating the virtues of tolerance and mutual respect in a diverse, multi-ethnic polity. The ability of so many Muslims to thrive economically and pursue a democratic, just agenda respectful of other faiths serves as a powerful reminder of what a successful, tolerant society can look like. We will continue to provide exchange and training programs that promote interfaith dialogue. Our active and creative public diplomacy program for Indonesia is one of the most robust in the world today."
Pirates in the Malaccan Strait Ping.