Lapin-cabin

Thailand-registered product tanker Lapin has been released after pirates siphoned five tonnes of diesel and 2,000t of bunker oil from the vessel, while it was underway in the Malacca Strait off Port Klang, Malaysia.

The vessel was later anchored in the west of Ko Tarutao, Thailand, with all 15 crewmembers safely onboard. The tanker had been travelling from Singapore to Thailand.

According to ReCAAP ISC, eight perpetrators armed with pistols and knives boarded Lapin from a small boat near Port Klang in Malaysia, and took control of the tanker.

The attackers then anchored the vessel south-west of Port Klang and robbed it by bringing a larger boat alongside the tanker.

Before leaving the vessel, pirates destroyed the communication devices onboard Lapin and stole the ship’s property and the crew’s belongings.

"The use of a ‘dummy’ explosive package by the perpetrators to threaten the crew is a first case, and of concern to the ReCAAP ISC."

In addition, they also left an improvised explosive package onboard. Lapin’s master said that the device looked like a TNT explosive and was held together by electrical wires.

A Thai Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team later found that it was electric circuitry with no explosive or detonator attached.

A statement from ReCAAP ISC read: "While the incident involving Lapin displayed the usual trend observed in previous siphoning incidents, the use of a ‘dummy’ explosive package by the perpetrators to threaten the crew is a first case, and of concern to the ReCAAP ISC.

"The use of this ploy serves to distract the authorities, delay their responses and deter the crew from doing much whilst the perpetrators escaped."

This is the first siphoning incident reported this year. The last incident that occurred in the Malacca Strait was in April 2014, and involved Naniwa Maru No. 1, off Port Klang, ReCAAP said.


Image: Pirates ransacked Lapin’s cabins. Photo: courtesy of ReCAAP Focal Point (Thailand).