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Learning English - Words in the News
16 March, 2005 - Published 12:16 GMT
Malaysia to act against pirates
Map of area

Malaysia has promised to send more ships to the Straits of Malacca after pirates kidnapped several crewmen for ransom in a number of attacks this week. Malaysia has launched an air and sea search and rescue operation to find the missing sailors. This report from Jonathan Kent:

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The lull in piracy in the Malacca Straits that followed the tsunami is over. On Monday at least ten pirates opened fire on a Japanese-flagged tug, the Idaten and boarded it. Eleven crew members made it safely to the Malaysian port of Penang, but two Japanese and a Filipino were seized by the attackers, probably for ransom. Two days earlier an Indonesian tanker, the Tri Samudra, fully laden with gas, was hijacked by more than thirty heavily armed men. The captain and first engineer are still missing.

The suspicion is that pirates from the tsunami-hit region of Aceh are operating once again. The authorities say they are sure that the kidnap victims were taken to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur attributes the earlier respite from attacks not just to the tsunami, but also to the presence of dozens of foreign naval vessels that came to help.

Around a third of the world's trade and half of its oil supplies pass through the straits, which are considered a hotspot for piracy. Much of the blame has been laid at Indonesia's door for failing to patrol its side of the channel properly.

Jonathan Kent, BBC, Kuala Lumpur

Listen to the words

a period when activity is less than before. This word is often used in times of conflict, e.g. the nurses were rescued during a lull in the figthing.

taken by force

money that is to be paid to release someone who has been kidnapped

fully laden
when a ship is fully laden, it has the maximum amount of cargo on board

belief that someone is responsible for a crime

(to attribute something that happens to a particular reason) gives the reason why something is believed to have happened

dozens of
a dozen is 12, but this expression means 'many'

a hotspot for
a place where something is known to happen a lot

much of the blame has been laid at Indonesia's door
(Expression - to lay the blame [for something] at somebody's door)Indonesia has been held responsible for a lot of what has happened

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