Seventh tanker attacked

Another small tanker has been hijacked in the South China Sea, but it is unclear at this stage if any of its cargo has been stolen.

The 2,400-dwt product tanker Moresby 9 (built 1977) was boarded by an unknown number of perpetrators at around 1938 hrs on Friday.

The ship, which was carrying 2,200t of MGO, was intercepted by the robbers in position 03° 23.32’E, 105° 08.90’E about 34nm from the Anambas Islands.

The Indonesian navy reportedly deployed their ships to the location of the incident, but were unable to locate the Moresby 9 off Pulau Anambas.

The ship’s owners were later able to establish communications with the Honduran-flagged ship and are currently investigating what occurred onboard the vessel.

The Moresby 9 was involved in a similar incident in 2013, but the presence of the Malaysian authorities at the location of the incident caused the robbers to flee empty handed.

Details of this latest incident came in an alert from the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre.

This is thought to be the seventh known case of coastal tankers being hijacked for their cargoes of diesel or gas oil reported since April this year, sparking fears of a new trend in pirate attacks in the area.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has urged owners of small tanker owners to maintain strict anti-piracy measures in the South China Sea following this spate of hijackings.

Maritime security analysts Dryad Maritime recently said that they believe the hijackings are being carried out by organised gangs involved in the marine fuel black market in the region.

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