Pirates have targeted at least six vessels while underway in the eastbound lane of the traffic separation scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) on 21 and 22 August, anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP has revealed.
The accidents involved three tankers Advantage Summer, Elbtank Denmark and Navig8 Stealth SV, and two container ships Atout and Maersk Lebu, as well as a bulk carrier named Peace Bright.
According to ReCAAP, the Singapore vessel traffic information system (VTIS) received reports through VHF about five unauthorised boarding and an attempted one.
Following this, the Singapore Port Operation Control Center (POCC) immediately notified the authorities of the littoral states and initiated navigational broadcast to alert ship crews to maintain anti-piracy watch.
ReCAAP incident alert read as: "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 to five persons, armed with knives and were opportunistic in nature without targeting specific vessels."
The crews from the vessels reported to be safe, while perpetrators armed with knives stole the Elbtank Denmark crew’s personal effects.
The ReCAAP ISC argued all vessels operating in this area to exercise improved vigilance and take extra precautionary measures while underway.
In addition, the anti-piracy watchdog asked all the relevant enforcement agencies to step up surveillance and patrols.