Malaysian authority averts hijacking of Thai oil tanker


A special team from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has prevented the hijack of a Thailand-registered oil tanker by arresting ten of the 13 pirates who attacked the vessel off the coast of Terengganu, Malaysia.

The ship, known as MT MGT1, was found roughly ten hours after it went missing on Wednesday.

However, three of the suspected pirates on a smaller boat nearby reportedly managed to escape following the rescue operation.

MMEA chief Maritime Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar said that the enforcement agency sent a vessel to find the missing pirates after a surveillance aircraft located the boat near the tanker.

"Warning shots were fired from the aircraft when the boat tried to escape, but the attempt to stop them failed as the aircraft was running low on fuel."

Zulkifli was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Warning shots were fired from the aircraft when the boat tried to escape, but the attempt to stop them failed as the aircraft was running low on fuel.”

All the attackers were identified as Indonesian nationals and did not cause any harm to the 14 crew members on-board.

MT MGT1 was carrying 2.2 million litres of diesel when it was attacked by pirates, representing a value of approximately MYR7m ($1.66m).

The tanker was travelling from Thailand to deliver fuel to Johor in Malaysia, reported New Straits Times.

The vessel has been sent to Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia to help with further investigations following the rescue.