Velda Addison, Hart Energy
No lives were lost when pirates, reportedly armed with machetes and pistols, hijacked a Malaysian oil tanker en route to the Kuantan port June 11. Yet, the incident serves as a reminder that there is still work to do toward preventing piracy.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in April that 54 incidents of armed robbery and piracy against ships were reported between January and March 2015. IMB, the U.K.-based anti-crime arm of the International Chamber of Commerce, also reported that there were 42 vessels boarded, eight hijackings and four attempted hijackings during the same time period.
More than half of the incidents happened in Southeast Asia, where there were 30 robbery and piracy incidents reported during first-quarter 2015. Africa was a distant second, with 11 reported incidents, followed by East Asia, with eight.
Fortunately, in the Malaysian case, eight of the alleged hijackers of the MT Orkim Harmony were arrested by Vietnamese authorities, who reportedly said the suspects admitted to being involved in the hijacking, according to the Indo Asian News Service. Plans are for the suspects to be extradited to Malaysia.
The vessel, with a crew of 22, was carrying about 50,000 barrels of gasoline, according to media reports.
In the past few years, steps have been taken to lower piracy attacks, especially offshore Somalia. Tactics have included heightened military presence, armed guards on vessels, better intelligence and the formation in 2009 of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which coordinates political and military efforts to end piracy working with about 80 countries and international groups.
To read the entire article, please click here.