Bunker Heist – Pirates Strike Product Tanker in Strait of Malacca

MT Ocean Energy. File photo courtesy MarineTraffic.com/
MT Ocean Energy. File photo courtesy MarineTraffic.com/John Regan

A Singapore-registered petroleum product tanker was hit by pirates late Saturday night while underway in the Strait of Malacca.

Approximate location of the boarding. Credit: ReCAAP
Approximate location of the boarding. Credit: ReCAAP

According to the regional piracy program ReCAAP, a gang of eight armed pirates boarded the MT Ocean Energy at about 21300 hours on Saturday (May 2) as it sailed in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The pirates ordered the vessel to anchor off Port Dickson, Malaysia, where a barge came along side and siphoned approximately 2,023 metric tons of gas oil from the vessel.

The pirates left the Ocean Energy at about 0430 hours on May 3 after damaging the ship’s communication equipment and stealing the ship’s Iridium phone, crew cash and mobile phones. The Master and crew were locked up during the attack.

The incident was reported to the Company Security Officer at about 0553 hours after the pirates left the vessel.

ReCAAP notes that the incident marked the 5th fuel siphoning case reported since January 2015 and the 2nd in the Straits of Malacca.

“Whilst the crew was not harmed, the criminal act of holding them under threat, stealing their cash and personal belongings; and the vessel’s cargo is unacceptable,” ReCAAP said in a statement. “The ReCAAP ISC and its partners condemns the maritime act and advises all vessels to exercise enhanced vigilance while transiting the area, and report all incidents to the nearest coastal State; and urges relevant authorities to increase surveillance, render timely responses and follow-up on this transnational crime.”