Malaysia, Japan coast guards launch anti-piracy exercise

Malaysia's maritime agency and Japan's coast guard have launched a weeklong joint exercise focusing on combating piracy at sea as well as search and rescue operations.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says the Japanese Coast Guard sent its patrol vessel Tsugaru and more than 50 crew for the exercise at Malaysia's northeastern port of Kuantan. It says KM Pekan, one of two patrol vessels given to Malaysia by Japan, will be involved in the exercise.

The agency said in a statement Monday that it is the third such exercise in five years to help build capacity because "robbery at sea and cross-border maritime crime remain a significant threat" in Malaysia's maritime zone.