China raises security alert in Strait of Malacca to highest level

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/4 13:53:40

Chinese container ship SOLAR is seen at CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal of Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on May 25, 2019. SOLAR, a Chinese container ship with a capacity of 21,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), arrived on Saturday at the CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal of Khalifa Port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal, built and operated by China's COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSP) and Abu Dhabi Ports, has a design capacity of 2.5 million TEU. (Xinhua/Su Xiaopo)

Chinese government raised the security level for Chinese ships passing through the Strait of Malacca to Level 3, the highest level, starting 10 pm on Tuesday, the Ministry of Transport told the Global Times on Thursday.

The ministry advised Chinese vessels heading toward the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest trade waterways should get ready and take precautionary security measures, to ensure navigational safety. 

The ministry confirmation with the Global Times came one day after a photocopy of a government circular dated Tuesday was widely noticed by Chinese social media on Wednesday, causing heated discussions on possible security deterioration at the important Asian strait. 

Some media in Southeast Asian countries speculated that some shipping tanker units were warned of possible attacks from local pirating gangsters.

China's state-owned shipping giant, China COSCO SHIPPING Corp, did not reply to a Global Times request for comments on Thursday.

Security of the strait, a prime waterway for trade linking Asia with the Middle East, Europe and Africa, is frequently debated among Asian leaders. Chinese maritime strategists often dub the situation as the "Malacca Dilemma''.

There were eight reported piracy and armed robbery incidents in 2018 in and around the strait, according to ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, which tracks piracies and attacks on ships in Asia.


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