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Pirates Kill Two in Attack on Danish Freighter

December 15, 1992

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ A British captain and his Filipino first mate were killed in a pirate attack aboard their freighter off Indonesia, shipping officials said today.

An Indonesian navy officer, however, said naval authorities were not convinced pirates were responsible for the attack because nothing was missing from the ship. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested that three crew members missing from the ship after the attack may have been responsible.

The naval officer said six other crew members were being interrogated.

According to Mazlan Abdul Samad, regional manager of the International Maritime Bureau, armed pirates used ropes to board the Danish-owned Baltimar Zephir late Friday when it was 200 miles north of Jakarta.

Sketchy reports said they first encountered and shot Capt. John Bashforth, 50. They then killed first mate Teodolfo Pereja in his cabin before fleeing, apparently without stealing anything from the vessel.

The nine other crew members escaped harm by hiding in various parts of the ship, which was sailing from Australia to India with a cargo of mining equipment.

Three of the crewmen were reported missing after the attack.

The attack was the second reported in the pirate-infested waters of Southeast Asia within a week.

Pirates stole cargo worth $3.06 million from the 500-ton Far Trader off Natuna Island, northwest of Borneo, on Dec. 6. No crew members were hurt.

Mazlan said that of the 96 incidents of piracy reported worldwide so far this year, 75 occurred in Asia and 71 in Southeast Asia.

Other sources say many raids go unreported.

Intricate issues involving international boundaries make it difficult to fight pirates. Shipping executives say marauders often hit vessels in the waters of one country and hide in another.

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