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Web Alert: Piracy warning to ships transiting Malacca Straits/Singapore Straits/Malaysian waters off Johor and Tioman/east coast Malaysia

27 November 2013

Two recent attempted robberies on the same ship entered with the club, at the same location, led to the club making enquiries about piracy incidents in this particular region.  We have learnt of two recent cargo thefts amongst a recent spate of attacks and this is a cause for concern. 
 
On 23 September and 6 October 2013 pirates boarded the member’s laden tanker in the early hours of the morning. The ship was anchored off Pulau Nipah for STS operations. In the first incident, the ship was engaged in STS operations when three pirates boarded from an unlit fishing boat, armed with steel nuts and bolts, with knives tied to their waists.  On detection by the duty crew the ship’s alarm was raised and the pirates escaped via the ship’s forecastle empty handed with the ship’s crew unharmed, despite the steel nuts and bolts being thrown at the crew during  the pirates’ escape.  In the second incident (when no STS operations were underway), the alert watchman saw about five pirates on the poop deck on the port side.  The general alarm was raised and  public address announcements were made in addition to the ship’s whistle being  sounded, causing the pirates to immediately leave the ship again empty handed and with the ship’s crew unharmed.  It was thought that the pirates boarded using grapnel hooks and ropes on the port quarter stern.  On both occasions the ship’s crew were mustered into the accommodation area.  The incidents were reported to the Singapore Maritime Authority and the IMB.
 
There have been other similar reported piracy attacks, some aborted due to the ship’s crew’s vigilance and some not where the crew’s personal belongings or ship’s stores were stolen.  However, there is concern over two recent reported incidents off Malaysian waters, when the ship’s cargo was also stolen. The first incident took place at 0530 hrs on 10 October 2013, off Pulau Tenggul when nine pirates armed with guns approached a laden tanker which was underway, in a high speed craft.  All the crew were taken hostage, the communication equipment destroyed and the cargo of gasoil and crew personal belongings were stolen.  The second incident was on 7 November 2013, 7.3 NM west of Pulau Kukup, Malaysia.  The incident took place at 0330 hrs when 10 pirates boarded a product tanker armed with guns and knives, tied up all the crew and held them hostage in one cabin.  The master was ordered to take the ship to a pre-designated position where the chief officer and bosun were forced to use the cargo pumps to discharge all the cargo into an offtake tanker. The crew’s personal belongings were also stolen.  The ship was then abandoned.
 
Members are advised to maintain strict anti-piracy watches and implement appropriate measures, including observing BMP4.  Members are also advised to report all attacks or suspicious sightings to the local authorities  and to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, as per IMO circular MSC.1/Circ.1334.
 
The reports from ships are important as these are used to warn shipping in the area.   Members are advised to monitor the IMB satellite broadcast  via Inmarsat C EGC Safety Net (which will contain the latest warnings) so that ships can take additional security measures should they transit the affected areas.