Following up on media reports earlier this morning, ReCAAP has released a report concerning what appears to be the 10th hijacking of a tanker in South East Asia since April this year. The V.L. 14 was around 30nm North of Pulau Tioman carrying 1,296 tonnes of lube oil when six pirates armed with guns came alongside her and boarded yesterday, August 28th, at around 2040 LT.
The took control of the ship and moved her before siphoning her cargo in to two tankers which came alongside. The pirates also stole crew belongings and damaged ship nav and comms equipment before escaping. The crew was not injured during the incident.
As soon as ReCAAP was informed, they alerted the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) who are now investigating the incident.
The apparent ease with which pirates are able to target vessels in the region continues to suggest that these hijackings are intelligence-led, with information coming from someone in the supply chain. The fact that the pirates were able to bring two tankers alongside also suggests that they knew the size of the cargo and that more than one ship would be required to offload it.
So far, the regional forces have had limited success in clamping down on this new wave of piracy in the region. Due to local and territorial laws Western PMSCs would find operating in South East Asia extremely difficult, leaving shipping companies somewhat exposed.