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 Words in the News
  Singapore hosted a conference aiming to reduce piracy after armed attacks against international shipping increased.The BBC's Jonathan Head reported.
  Audio Listen to the report in full
Piracy poster

9th March 2000

Combating piracy in the south Pacific

  Audio Listen to the first part of the report
    The seas around Indonesia and Singapore are some of the busiest in the world and some of the most dangerous. Last year more than a hundred ships were hijacked by pirates in Indonesian waters, a reflection of the growing lawlessness in the rest of the country. Using small fast-moving boats, the pirates creep up on large cargo ships, often at night, and can usually overpower the crew quickly. The crew is then either set adrift or killed. The ships are re-named and re-painted. Many have later been discovered operating along the southern coast of China.

hijacked: if someone hijacks a vehicle, in this case a ship, they illegally take control of it by force while it is travelling from one place to another

pirates: sailors who attack and rob other ships

reflection: if something is a reflection of a situation, it indicates that the situation exists

lawlessness: actions which break the law

creep: to move quietly and slowly, often with the aim of being unnoticed

cargo ships: ships which are carrying goods

overpower: here, seize control of the crew despite any struggle they may put up

crew: the people who work on and operate a ship

set adrift: cast out to sea in a boat without any controls

NEWS 2   Audio Listen to the second part of the report

The offer by Japan to send its own patrol boats down to south east Asia is the first sign of a co-ordinated international campaign against the pirates. The conference in Singapore is likely to be the first in a series of meetings this year, aimed at reducing the number of attacks in these vital shipping lanes. A British company has even proposed putting retired Gurkha officers on board ships in East Asian waters to protect them, although so far no-one has taken them up on their offer.


patrol boats: small boats used by the navy to monitor shipping

series: a number of events or things which will come one after another

shipping lanes: trade routes taken by ships as they carry cargo from one destination to another

retired: a retired person is someone who has left their job and stopped working, usually because of age

Gurkha: a member of a regiment in the British or Indian army made up of soldiers from Nepal


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