A pirate gang operating in Malaysian waters hijacked an oil products tanker on Thursday off the small of island of Pulau Tioman before making off with the ship’s cargo, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery reported Friday.
An incident report from the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre said that a group of six armed pirates approached the tanker V.L. 14 in a speedboat at approximately 10 p.m. local time as the vessel was underway about 30 nautical miles north of Pulau Tioman. The pirates were able to board the vessel from the stern and take control of the ship while gathering the crew in the engine room.
The Thai-flagged tanker was reportedly carring 1,2096 tonns of lube oil at the time and was sailing from Singapore to Bangkok.
The ReCAAP incident report said that the pirates sailed the ship about 10 nautical miles away, where two tankers were awaiting to transfer the ship’s cargo. The report said that the pirates also stole the crew’s personal belongings and damaged the navigational and communications equipment before leaving the vessel approximately 6 hours after the initial hijacking.
After the pirates left, the crew sailed the ship towards Pulau Tioman to report the incident. The crew was not injured during the incident, ReCAAP said.
ReCAAP reports that this is the eighth such incident reported in southeast Asia this year.