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MISC vessels to skirt Gulf of Aden

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Sept 2008: The Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) has stopped all its vessels from entering the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden until additional security measures have been provided to enhance the safety of its vessels and crew.

MISC said in a statement today this was in addition to the precautionary and preventive measures already in place for all its vessels.

The statement comes in the wake of the seizure of two MISC vessels, MT Bunga Melati 2 and MT Bunga Melati 5, with a crew of 65 Malaysians and 15 Filipinos by pirates in the gulf on 19 Aug and 30 Aug, respectively.

The MISC statement said: "In the case of Bunga Melati 5, such precautionary and preventive measures were carried out and, despite this, Bunga Melati 5 was nevertheless overcome by pirates.

"The vessel was sailing in international waters bordering the coast of Yemen and, on the advice of the coalition forces, Bunga Melati 5 kept within the vicinity of the designated security corridor."

Negotiations are going on for the safe release of the crew of MT Bunga Melati 2 while communication has yet to be established with MT Bunga Melati 5.

The statement said MISC President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas reaffirmed that the safety of the crew remained the company’s first and immediate priority and said family members had been briefed and were constantly updated on the situation. – Bernama

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