The 5,900-dwt Sunrise 689, which was carrying a crew of 18 people and over 5,000 tonnes of gas oil, disappeared from the radar 40 minutes after it left Singapore on 2 October when it was bound for Quang Tri province in central Vietnam.
The ship is owned by Vietnam’s Haiphong Sea Product Shipbuilding Co and the last known location was 115 nautical miles northeast of Singapore.
“It looks like their communication system is off or destroyed,” Noel Choong, head of International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters. He added that attempts to trace the tanker using satelllites had failed.
Vietnam’s National Search and Rescue Committee said it and the foreign ministry had sent diplomatic notes on Tuesday to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia asking for help in the search.
“Maritime authorities are out searching for her (the vessel) using surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft,” said a spokeswoman for the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in Singapore.
According to IMB, there has been at least 11 vessels hijacked by pirates in the Strait of Malacca or South China Sea since April this year.