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Pirates hit six vessels in Malacca and Singapore Straits in less than 30 hours

Pirates hit six vessels in Malacca and Singapore Straits in less than 30 hours
Pirates hit six vessels in the Malacca and Singapore Straits in less than 30 hours on Friday and Saturday, successfully boarding five.

According ReCAAP all the incidents took place in the eastbound lane of the traffic separation scheme with pirates hitting three vessels in the early hours of 21 August – the first at 2-30am, one late in the evening, and a further two in the early hours of 22 August, the sixth incident taking place at 5-35am.

The vessels involved were the tankers Advantage Summer, Navig8 Stealth and Elbtank Denmark; the containerships Maersk Lebu and Atout; and the bulk carrier Peace Bright.

All the attacks involved four or five pirates, armed with knives. They were successful in boarding, except the Advantage Summer where they sighted trying to board the vessel at the stern from a speedboat.

In all cases the pirates fled when spotted, and were only successful in stealing personal effects in the case of the Elbtank Denmark. No seafarers were harmed in the incidents.

“Considering the close interval of time and proximity of these incidents, the perpetrators could possibly be from the same group. From the description of the incidents, the perpetrators operated in about four - five persons, armed with knives and were opportunistic in nature without targeting specific vessels,” ReCAAP said in an incident alert.

“They aborted boarding when crew was alerted, and escaped empty-handed when the alarm was raised without harming the crew.”

However, the concern is there could be more attacks. “Of concern was their persistence in ‘hovering’ in the vicinity seeking out their next target,” ReCAAP said.

For vessels underway in the area, one of the world’s busiest sealanes, it strongly recommended they shouldp practice “enhanced vigilance and take extra precautionary measures”.