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More sharing of information and close to cooperation among countries in Southeast Asia will help reduce incidences of smuggling and piracy
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Bunga Melati Lima Freed
September 28, 2008 22:03 PM

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- One of the two Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) tankers hijacked in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates has been freed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Sunday.

"All its crew members have been released and the vessel is now heading to Djibouti (East Africa). The crew members are all in good health.

"A medical team from the Defence Ministry comprising of doctors, medical assistants and counsellors are providing assistance to the crew," he said after having his Aidilfitri message recorded at his official residence, Seri Perdana, here.

Abdullah, who is also Defence Minister, said negotiations to secure the release of the other tanker, the MT Bunga Melati Dua, and its crew members were ongoing.

"The negotiations are showing positive signs. It is our hope that the release of the hostages and tanker can be secured soon.

"I wish to remind the family members to remain calm. We will do all we can to ensure they return home safely," he said.

The MT Bunga Melati Dua, with a crew of 39 -- 29 Malaysian and the rest Filipinos -- was hijacked in the gulf, where rampant maritime piracy is taking place, on Aug 19.

One of the Filipino crew was killed when hit by a stray bullet.

Ten days later, the MT Bunga Melati Lima, with 36 Malaysian and five Filipino crew encountered the same fate while sailing from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia to Singapore.

Malaysia sent two warships, the KD Lekiu and KD Inderapura, and an offshore patrol vessel, the KD Pahang to escort MISC ships sailing in the risky waters following the two hijacking incidents.



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