The International Maritime Bureau has expressed concern over rise in the cases of hijackings of small coastal tankers carrying oil and diesel especially in Southeast Asia, calling it a new trend in pirate attacks in the area.
“The recent increase in the number of successful hijackings is a cause for concern,” IMB Director, Pottengal Mukundan said, adding these serious attacks have so far targeted small coastal tankers.
“We advise these vessels to maintain strict anti-piracy measures in these waters, and to report all attacks and suspicious approaches by small craft,” Mukundan said.
In Southeast Asia, at least six known cases of coastal tankers being hijacked for their cargoes of diesel or gas oil have been reported since April this year, sparking fears of a new trend in pirate attacks in the area, he said.
Earlier, the majority of attacks in the region had been on vessels, mainly at anchor, boarded for petty theft.
Globally, 116 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships have been reported to the Piracy Reporting Centre based here, in the first six months of 2014.
In 2014, 10 vessels were hijacked, seven fired upon, 78 boarded and 21 vessels reported attempted attacks against their vessels.
Two hundred crew members were taken hostage, five kidnapped from their vessels and there were two fatalities according to a report by IMB.
Indonesia accounts for 47 of the reported incidents with vessels boarded in 40 reports.
Majority were low-level thefts against vessels.
The number of Somali pirate attacks continued to remain low with 10 incidents reported including three vessels fired upon. No vessels were boarded.
However, Mukundan warned that the risk of piracy had not completely diminished.
He urged ship captains to remain vigilant and apply the Best Management Practices guidelines.