Three commercial ships were boarded by pirates within just three hours of each other in Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre has reported.
The three vessels were boarded in close proximity of each other while underway Wednesday in the eastbound lane of the SOMS. ReCAAP says that the three incidents occurred within about three hours and just 4 to 10 nautical miles of each other, leading authorities to believe that the perpetrators were part of the same group.
In all three incidents, the perpetrators were sighted in the engine room, an indication that the vessel’s engine spare items were targeted, ReCAAP said.
The vessels have been identified as the Brazilian-flagged bulk carrier MV Densa Shark, the Norwegian-flagged LNG tanker Clipper Posh and the Panama-flagged tanker Pro Triumph.
“Though these incidents were deemed as ‘petty theft’ in nature, it warrants ships to pay greater attention to shipboard security as access/authorized boarding has been breached,” ReCAAP said in a statement. “Notably, vessels were more vulnerable particularly those with low free board and navigating at slower speed when negotiating a turn in the area.”
The incidents come as a search is underway for a missing Malaysian product tanker, MT Orkim Harmony, which lost communication with its owners on June 11 and is believed to have been targeted by bunker pirates. The last known position of the product tanker was approximately 17 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Aur, Malaysia.
Details of the three incidents provided by ReCAAP are below:
- At or about 0221 hrs, a Brazil-registered bulk carrier, Densa Shark was underway at approximately 1.1 nm south-southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil when three perpetrators armed with knives were sighted in the engine room. The crew immediately raised the alarm and conducted a search. No perpetrators were found onboard and nothing was missing.
- Within two and a half hours later, at or about 0503 hrs, a Norway-registered LNG tanker, Clipper Posh while underway at approximately 3.9 nm northeast of Pulau Takong Kecil when five perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The alarm was raised immediately and the master conducted a search for the perpetrators but none was found. Nothing was missing.
- Less than half an hour later, at or about 0525 hrs, a Panama-registered tanker, Pro Triumph while underway at approximately 6.9 nm southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil when five perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The Chief Engineer and 1st Engineer were tied, and some generator spares parts were stolen. Thealarm was raised and the perpetrators fled.