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Pirates Attack 2 UN-Chartered Ships off Indonesia


An international maritime watchdog says pirates have attacked two U.N.-chartered ships off the Indonesian coast in the Strait of Malacca. No injuries were reported.

The International Maritime Bureau says both ships were traveling along northeastern Sumatra, from Belawan to ports in Aceh, when they were boarded Sunday night, just hours apart.

Chartered by the U.N. World Food Program, the vessels were carrying construction materials to help rebuild Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh province.

Each year, about 50,000 ships traverse the Strait of Malacca, between Sumatra island and peninsular Malaysia. Half the world's oil production and one-third of all global commerce passes through the strait's shipping lanes. The area is notorious for piracy, but aggressive joint patrols by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have sharply reduced the number of attacks during the past year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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