Singapore — Another vessel in the Singapore Strait was targeted by pirates on Christmas Day, after three similar incidents last Friday (Dec 20) and two on Monday (Dec 23), according to an update from the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC).
ReCAAP is the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.
The Stena Immortal was in the eastbound lane of the strait when six unarmed pirates boarded her and made their way to engine room.
The men were seen by the chief engineer, who promptly told the master about the intruders.
According to ReCAAP: “The alarm was raised and the perpetrators escaped empty-handed in a small boat. There was no confrontation between the perpetrators and the crew.”
Upon its arrival at the port in Singapore, the vessel was boarded by the Singapore Police Coast Guard and inspected. The Indonesian authorities and the Republic of Singapore Navy were also alerted about the incident.
ReCAAP says that the total number of incidents of piracy in the Singapore Strait for this year has now reached 30, with 15 occurring in the westbound lane and 15 in the eastbound lane.
The ReCAAP ISC says it is “seriously concerned with the increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait. Since the perpetrators of these incidents are not arrested, there is a possibility of further incidents in the Singapore Strait.
“All ships are strongly advised to exercise utmost vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal state. The ReCAAP ISC recommends to the law enforcement agencies of the littoral states to further step up surveillance, increase patrols and enhance cooperation and coordination among them in order to respond promptly to incidents.”
On Dec 20, six perpetrators carrying knives climbed aboard the tanker Jag Lalit as it was on its way to Kaohsiung in Taiwan, said the ISC.
The Seatrade Maritime News reported that crew members were assaulted. The chief engineer sustained bruises on his neck when a gold chain was stolen from him and the 4th engineer was punched in the face.
A few minutes after this assault, five men boarded the Akij Globe, a bulk carrier. They stormed into the engine room to confront the crew. However, when the alarm was sounded, the men escaped in a small white boat, bearing with them engine and generator spare parts
Some hours earlier another bulk carrier, the Jian Fa, was hit by a yet undetermined number of people as it was making its way to China. Upon the crew’s inspection of the vessel some time later, it was determined that nothing had been stolen and that none of the pirates had remained on board.
In the early hours of Dec 23, two attacks were carried out on a tanker and a bulk carrier. Crew members on board the vessels were tied up by the pirates, as they tried to rob the vessels. However, the pirates left quickly, without stealing anything, when the alarm was sounded on both ships.
The first ship attacked was the Bamzi, a tanker en route to Qing Dao in China. Three men, one of whom carried a knife, entered the engine room. When the ship’s alarm sounded, the pirates left the vessel immediately. Two crew members were found to have been tied up.
Less than two hours later, the bulk carrier Trust Star was invaded by six men. As in previous incidents, the crew members activated the alarm and the pirates made a hasty exit. They had also tied up two crew members, who were eventually able to free themselves. -/TISG