KUALA LUMPUR: The Maritime Institute of Malaysia has called on shipping companies to hire private security to help prevent pirate attacks. MIMA director-general First Admiral (R) Datuk Chin Yoon Chin said that shipping companies should consider beefing up security to protect the cargo they carry by hiring armed personnel onboard their ships to ward off possible hijacking or theft. "For example, in the Gulf of Adan, companies hire protection personnel to deter pirates from attacking," he said. These companies should take prevention moves to ensure the safety of their cargo and crew onboard their ships, and cannot always depend on the government and authorities for protection, he added. He noted the authorities have assets patrolling Malaysian waters in the Malacca straits and the South China Sea. "At any one time, there are at least two boats patrolling the waters. But with the 6,000 km2 of waters to cover, there is so much to cover," he told a press conference at MIMA office here today. He said if more assets were to be placed at sea, it could incur a huge amount of money. Over the weekend, Singapore-registered tanker MT Joaquim which was reported missing in the Malacca Straits, was found in Indonesia waters with its cargo of 500 tonnes of marine gas oil, worth RM2.8 million, missing. In June, MT Orkim Harmony, which was carrying 6,000 tonnes of RON95 petrol worth RM21 million, was hijacked by pirates while on its way to Kuantan Port from Malacca. Asked if there is a need for foreign assistance to patrol the waters around Malaysia, Chin said this would be a sovereignty issue.