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A hijacked Malaysian coastal tanker has been recovered by the prompt actions of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) off the coast of Malaysia.
The owners of the Malaysian tanker lost contact with the tanker at 2200 hours on 28 January 2015. The tanker, with ten crew members on board and carrying 700 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil was off Tanjung Ayam at the Southern entrance to the South China Sea.
Fearing that the vessel may have been hijacked, MMEA requested the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre to track and provide the position of the vessel. MMEA then deployed a number of vessels in the area and finally located the tanker, in the South China Sea about 35 nautical miles north east of the location of the hijack.
The vessel was then under control of nine pirates. Further to an engagement by the MMEA, at 2300 hours on 29 January 2015, seven of the pirates were arrested. Two of them jumped overboard. The IMB PRC sent out a broadcast to all ships to lookout and rescue the two pirates. Another merchant vessel subsequently picked the pirates and handed them over to the MMEA. The crew of the hijacked tanker were rescued and reported unhurt. The vessel is proceeding to a safe destination for further investigations.
Since April 2014 there have been 16 vessels hijacked in South East Asia of which eleven vessels were coastal product tankers hijacked in the Southern approaches to the South China Sea.
“We commend the Malaysian authorities for their immediate response to the reported hijacking. The arrest of all the pirates involved is exactly the kind of response needed to bring this crime under control”, said an IMB spokesperson.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, run the by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB), is the world’s only independent office to receive reports of pirate attacks 24-hours-a-day from across the globe. IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy. Transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organization can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.
London and Kuala Lumpur, 14 January 2015 – Attacks against small tankers off South East Asia’s coasts caused a rise in global ship hijackings, up to 21 in 2014 from 12 in 2013, despite piracy at sea falling to its lowest level in eight years, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed. Pirates took 442 crewmembers hostage, compared with 304 in 2013.
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