By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-18 10:51:09
The Malaysian-flagged tanker Oriental Glory was attacked by a group of 30 pirates on May 15, marking the seventh incident of fuel siphoning in Asia this year.
The roughly 3,000 dwt vessel had departed Labuan and was en route to Tanjung Manis when six fishing boats surrounded the tanker in an area of off Bruit Island in Malaysia. The armed men then forced the vessel to another location further south and siphoned approximately 2,500 tons of bunker fuel from the ship. After robbing the crew of personal effects, the pirates left the vessel.
All members of the crew are safe and have been transported to Tanjung Manis to aid in the piracy investigation.
This is the third piracy attack on Oriental Glory in under a year. In July of 2014 a team of 25 armed men carried out another fuel siphoning attack and in November the captain of the Oriental Glory managed to foil another incident.
The news comes as the anti-piracy organization ReCAAP has noted a strong increase in piracy for the first quarter of 2015, with severe incidents including fuel siphoning topping the list of organization’s concerns. The lower portion of the South China Sea, where the attack on the Oriental Glory took place, is a known hotspot for pirate activity.
ReCAAP has urged ships to be on heightened alert when traveling near the area and, Monday of last week Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han, Chief of Navy for Singapore, announced that his country, Malaysia and Indonesia are in discussions to heighten patrol efforts in the areas of the South China Sea most affected by piracy.