Armed men have hijacked two vessels in the South China Sea in the past week.
Malaysian-flagged product tanker Orkim Victory was boarded in the South China Sea off Pulau Aur, Malaysia, on 4 June and had its oil cargo siphoned off.
Orkim Victory, laden with petroleum cargo, was under way from Sungai Udang to Kuantan, Malaysia, when the 7,119 dwt vessel was boarded by armed men at 00:15 h local time.
According to IHS Maritime’s AISLive data, the vessel was making a sharp turn away from Kuantan at 02 15.3’N, 104 19.6’E around 00:15 h local time before slowing down at a speed of 6 kt. There was no recorded AIS signal from Orkim Victory after 01:46 h local time.
According to an ICC CCS report, the armed men took control of the tanker and its crew, and changed the course of the ship until it met with another vessel, into which part of the oil cargo was transferred. The armed group also damaged all communication equipment in Orkim Victory and stole crew and ship property.
The crew of Orkim Victory are reported to be unmarmed and the tanker has since sailed to a safe port for further investigation by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Meanwhile, an Indonesian-flagged timber carrier was believed to have been hijacked by pirates in the South China Sea on 3 June.
KM Mutiara was boarded by armed men on speedboats off Pulau Bangka, Indonesia. The vessel’s crew members were forced to jump overboard by the armed men, who subsequently took control of the vessel and altered its course to north.
The report about the hijacked KM Mutiara came from fishermen who noticed a vessel without lights east off Palau Bangka and later rescued most of the crew members. Local authorities will continue to investigate the incident before confirming the report received from the fishermen and witnesses’ evidence.
KM Mutiara’s location remains unknown and it is believed that the armed men had stolen the ship cargo, as well as valuables from crew rooms and ship’s office.