The IMB reports that the tanker, Singa Berlian (IMO: 9062439) was hijacked last week.
As is often the case, the news took some time to come out and hasn’t really hit the media in the region. The incident report states that seven pirates wearing masks and armed with guns and knives approached the ship in a speed boat and boarded her on March 9th at 2108 Local Time, in position 01:43N-105:50E, around 37nm South of Pulau Repong. The crew members were held hostage and the pirates took control of the ship. All communication and nav equipment was damaged and the the Marine Fuel Oil cargo was transferred to another ship. The pirates then left the ship.
It’s not clear in the report whether the Singa Berlian was sailed to a rendezvous or whether the second tanker came alongside her. One crewman was slightly injured during the attack and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is investigating.
Our records suggest that this is the fifth tanker to be hijacked in the region since January. Last year, at least 17 ships were hijacked in Southeast Asia, although several of these were robbed and released when the pirates found they were not carrying the right cargo. If the current rate of hijackings is maintained, 2015 looks as though it will be a rewarding year for the region’s criminal gangs.
Previously hijacked ships:
Phubai Pattra 1