Hapless pirates attacked empty tanker off Malaysia to steal oil cargo

Bungling pirates attacked a tanker off Malaysia last month to steal its oil cargo only to find the vessel was empty and were later arrested by the authorities.

In the only case of theft of oil cargo in the first half of the year reported by the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) the attempt was to prove unsuccessful as the criminals targeted an empty vessel.

The tanker Lee Bo was boarded by 14 pirates armed with machetes and knives while underway off the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia on 1 June.

“They got on board the ship but realised there was no oil on the tanker,” Masafumi Kuroki, executive director of ReCAAP told reporters at its half yearly press briefing. Realising their mistake they robbed the crew of 12 of their personal belongings leaving two of the seafarers slightly injured.

Read more: Pirates hijack Thai tanker off Malaysian west coast

Thai tanker robbed of diesel cargo off Kuantan, Malaysia

Responding to a report of the attack the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) a Special Task and Rescue (STAR) team to the location and boarded the vessel arrested all 14 perpetrators, who have since been charged with gang robbery.

With the assistance of the Indonesia Armed Forces two suspects believed to be the masterminds behind the operation were arrested on the island of Batam in Indonesia on the same day.

ReCAAP believes the criminal syndicates behind oil cargo thefts at sea are likely involved in other illegal activities turning to oil theft at sea when it is lucrative. The current higher oil price makes such crimes more lucrative.

Posted 18 July 2018

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Marcus Hand

Author Bio ▼

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News Marcus Hand is the editor of Seatrade Maritime News and a dedicated maritime journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering the shipping industry in Asia. In addition to running Seatrade's maritime and offshore news website based from Singapore he is the Asia Editor of Seatrade Maritime Review. Marcus is also an experienced industry commentator and has chaired many conferences and round tables. Prior to joining Seatrade at the beginning of 2010 Marcus worked for shipping industry journal Lloyd's List for a decade and previous to that the Singapore Business Times covering shipping and aviation.

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