In the fifth incident of its kind this year, a tanker was attacked and had its fuel siphoned off Port Dickson, Malaysia, on 2 May.
Singapore-headquartered anti-piracy watchdog, ReCAAP Information Service Centre (ReCAAP ISC) said that the Singapore-registered products tanker, Ocean Energy, departed Singapore on 2 May at 08.45 hours local time for Myanmar.
Whilst underway in the Straits of Malacca, the 6,500dwt products tanker, owned by Hin Leong Trading subsidiary Ocean Tankers, was boarded by eight pirates armed with guns.
The pirates forced the master of the vessel to drop anchor at 02° 19.3 .64′ N, 101° 40.4′ E , off Port Dickson where a barge came alongside. Subsequently, the master and crew were locked up while the perpetrators siphoned and transferred 2,023 tonnes of gas oil to the barge.
In the meantime, the perpetrators damaged the communication equipment on the ship and stole the crew’s cash and mobile phones as well as the vessel’s Iridium phone. Then, the perpetrators fled the scene at around 04.30 hours local time on 3 May.
The crew of Ocean Energy then contacted their company’s security officer at about 05.53 hours local time to report the incident. No one was hurt in the incident and the vessel eventually returned to Singapore on 3 May.
For Ocean Tankers, it is the second time within a year that its tankers have been hijacked. On 22 September 2014, Ocean Osprey was also hijacked en route to Myanmar. The attackers stole the crew’s personal effects and money.
ReCAAP ISC indicated that besides being the fifth fuel siphoning case reported since the start of the year, it was also the second siphoning incident to occur in the Straits of Malacca in 2015. The anti-piracy watchdog condemned the incident and urged authorities to increase surveillance, render timely responses and follow-up on these transnational crimes.