Three ships hit by pirates in three hours

Singapore: Three ships have been attacked by pirates in the same area in the space of just three hours today, local piracy watchdog ReCAAP has just reported.

The three vessels were underway in the eastbound lane of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

At or about 0221 hrs, a Brazil-registered bulk carrier, Densa Shark was underway at approximately 1.1 nm south-southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil when three perpetrators armed with knives were sighted in the engine room. The crew immediately raised the alarm and conducted a search. No perpetrators were found onboard and nothing was missing.

Two and a half hours later, at or about 0503 hrs, a Norway-registered LNG tanker, Clipper Posh while underway at approximately 3.9 nm northeast of Pulau Takong Kecil when five perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The alarm was raised immediately and the master conducted a search for the perpetrators but none was found. Nothing was missing.

Less than half an hour later, at or about 0525 hrs, a Panama-registered tanker, Pro Triumph while underway at approximately 6.9 nm southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil when five perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The Chief Engineer and 1st Engineer were tied, and some generator spares parts were stolen. The alarm was raised and the perpetrators fled.

“In all three incidents, the perpetrators were sighted in the engine room, an indication that the vessel’s engine spare items were targeted,” ReCAAP noted in a release, adding: Considering the close interval of time and proximity of these incidents (between 4 nm and 10 nm), although not substantiated at this juncture, the perpetrators could possibly be from the same group.”

Ships should pay greater attention to shipboard security as access/authorized boarding has been breached, ReCAAP urged.

Ships with low low free board and navigating at slower speeds when negotiating a turn in the area are the prime targets by pirates in the area, ReCAAP said.

Enhanced vigilance, early detection of perpetrators and activation of the alarm immediately are some of the key actions towards preventing boarding, the organisation urged.

Southeast Asia has become the world’s most piracy prone area over the past two years.

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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