Singapore: Another tanker has been attacked in Southeast Asia as the region increasingly becomes the global hotspot for piracy. A product tanker, Ai Maru, belonging to Canter Marine, a Singapore registered Japanese owner, left Singapore for the Gulf of Thailand on Saturday carrying 1,520 tonnes of marine gas oil.
According to ReCAAP, at or about 2030 hrs the 1,800 dwt ship was boarded by an unknown number of robbers from three speed boats in the South China Sea.
Maritime assets were deployed in response. At about 0050 hrs, Ai Maru stopped with its shipboard lighting turned on, and it was assessed that the unauthorized personnel had left the vessel as they have been alerted that the maritime authorities were closing in.
A Malaysian maritime enforcement vessel proceeded alongside the Ai Maru for investigation.
The same vessel, Ai Maru had been boarded by pirates in 2012 in the South China Sea with the same intention of siphoning. However, the pirates’ plan was foiled when the authorities were in the vicinity. This time round, the pirates’ plan was again foiled owing to the quick response from regional maritime authorities.
Incidents of fuel theft in the region have escalated dramatically in recent months, with the UN warning last Thursday that the region has become the worst place on Earth for piracy incidents. [15/06/14]