The crew of the product tanker Orkim Victory were taken hostage after their vessel was hijacked by pirates eight nautical miles off the coast of Pu Aur, Malaysia.
Two small boats approached the 7,119 dwt, Orkim Victory, owned by Orkim Ship Management in the early morning hours of June 4. The armed assailants boarded the tanker and altered its course to rendezvous with a larger vessel. Part of the oil cargo was then transferred to the pirate ship. The pirates also robbed the crew and seized ship property. Before leaving, the pirates damage the onboard communication systems.
All crew have been reported safe and the tanker was able to make its way back to a nearby port.
This is the second pirate attack in the South China Sea this week. On June 3 the Indonesian-flagged timber carrier KM Mutiara was also hijacked. Crew members were forced to jump overboard as the pirates made off with the ship and its cargo. The location of the ship is still unknown.
The International Maritime Bureau has reported that attacks against small tankers are increasing in the South China Sea. Additionally, around 75% of pirate attacks in 2014 occurred in Asian waters. Singapore has recently called for members of the littoral states to increase patrols in the lower portion of the South China Sea in order to combat the growing piracy threat.