Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the Malaysian coast near Singapore, said the International Maritime Bureau, the second such incident in a month near Asia’s biggest oil-trading hub.
Armed with guns and knives, 10 pirates boarded a tanker in the Strait of Malacca, some 13.5 kilometers (7.3 nautical miles) west of Malaysia’s Pulau Kukup, forcing the crew to transfer gasoil to another ship, the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center said in a November 7 incident report on its website.
The attack occurred 34 miles west of Singapore, according to reports.
The Malacca Strait connects the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, is a strategic chokepoint for oil trade, and is the shortest sea route between the Middle East and Asia.
The attack follows an October 10 hijacking of an oil-products tanker off Malaysia’s Pulau Aur in the South China Sea, about 67 miles northeast of Singapore, in which pirates stole the ship’s cargo before abandoning the vessel on October 15.
IMB data shows there have been 206 reports of piracy this year worldwide, including 11 hijackings.