A Vietnam-flagged oil tanker carrying more than 5,200t of oil and 18 crew members has reportedly gone missing en route from Singapore to the Vietnamese port of Quang Tri.
The vessel, Sunrise-689, was scheduled to reach in Quang Tri port on 5 October but was reported as missing 40 minutes after its departure from Singapore and is feared to have been hijacked by pirates, the BBC reported.
Vietnam coastguard vice-commander and chief-of-staff Colonel Ngo Ngoc Thu was quoted by the news agency saying: "There is no official conclusion yet, but the possibilities of technical problems or weather are very low.
"Our search units are trying to verify whether pirates attacked it."
The last contact made with the vessel was when it reached 120nm north-east of Singapore and 360nm from the Vietnamese province of Ca Mau.
The Vietnamese authorities have contacted Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore for help to find the vessel.
According to the media reports, the vessel is believed to be owned by Hai Phong Seafood Shipbuilding Joint Stock Company.
South East Asia has witnessed a numbers of piracy attacks this year, especially on the Strait of Malacca running between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Since April, at least six coastal tankers have been hijacked for their cargoes of diesel or gas oil in the region, a report from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre said.
Image: A petroleum tanker anchored at the port of Singapore. Photo: courtesy of Drunken sailor mn.