KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Reuters) – A Thai diesel oil tanker with 14 crew members en route from Singapore to Indonesia is believed to have been hijacked, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Saturday, the second major case in months on one of the world’s busiest waterways.
“It could be a hijacking. We have sent signals for ships in the area to keep a lookout and the authorities have been alerted,” Noel Choong, the head of IMB’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center, told Reuters on Saturday.
Authorities lost contact with the MT Orapin 4 after it departed from a terminal in Singapore on May 27, according to a report by the IMB. It was headed for Pontianak, Indonesia.
Pirates raided a tanker off the coast of Malaysia in late April, taking 3 million liters of diesel from the tanker.
Previous tanker hijackings and cargo thefts have taken place closer to Singapore, with five such incidents between 2011 and 2013, according to the government-to-government body, Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
There were eight armed attacks in the Malacca Strait and around Singapore in the first quarter this year, compared with one in the same period last year, Singapore-headquartered ReCAAP said, although most were small thefts. (Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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