Piracy in¬†Southeast Asia¬†is on the rise, with marine gas oil (MGO) increasingly targeted for theft and resale,¬†CNN reports.
The rising price of fuel, along with the increasing adoption of slow steaming, are making ships more appealing and more vulnerable to attack.
“The statistics would seem to suggest it’s on the rise in Asia,” said an anonymous source from a¬†Hong Kong-based ship management company.
“It’s now very dangerous for slow vessels with low freeboards to pass through piracy areas.”
The¬†Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia¬†(ReCAAP) found that high bunker prices led to at least four attacks in 2011 and 2012 where fuel was siphoned from ship tanks.
Pirates target tankers carrying MGO, using insider information on the tankers’ routes, ReCAAP said, and in some cases they repaint and rename the ships to resell both the tankers and their cargo.
Of 22 pirate attacks so far in 2013, nine took place around Southeast Asia, while there was just one in Somalia thanks to increased policing.