Bomb onboard tanker a hoax

Bangkok: The Thai tanker attacked over the weekend and left with what robbers claimed was a bomb onboard has been given the all clear by the Royal Thai Navy.

Robbers hijacked the Lapin product tanker on Friday evening, tieing up the 15 crew, ransacking the bridge and siphoning off 2,000 tonnes of bunker oil and five tonnes of diesel oil before leaving behind a device they claimed was a bomb.

The Royal Thai Navy boarded Lapin on Sunday afternoon north of Ko Tarutao. A Thai explosive ordnance disposal team managed to disarm the improvised explosive package and found only an electric circuit with no explosive or detonator attached.

ReCAAP, the regional anti-piracy watchdog, noted: “This is the first successful siphoning incident reported in 2015, and it occurred in the Malacca Strait… Most of the siphoning incidents reported in 2014 occurred in the South China Sea. While the incident involving Lapin displayed the usual trend observed in previous siphoning incidents, the use of a ‘dummy’ explosive package by the perpetrators to threaten the crew is a first case, and of concern to the ReCAAP ISC. The use of this ploy serves to distract the authorities, delay their responses and deter the crew from doing much whilst the perpetrators escaped.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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