S'pore-registered tanker hijacked in Malacca Strait, with fuel oil reportedly siphoned off


SINGAPORE- A Singapore-registered ship, Joaquim, disappeared in the Malacca Strait on Saturday at about 9.30pm and was found some 14 nautical miles off Tanjung Kling near Malacca on Sunday morning.

The oil tankerwas carrying 3,500 metric tons of fuel oil worth US$700,000, (S$970,000) according to a report by the Malaysian broadsheet New Straits Times.

A regional centre to fight piracy and armed robbery against ships said the vessel was hijacked by an unknown number of perpetrators.

The ship's Automatic Identification System was later turned off, added the centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

The New Straits Times reported that a total of 15 ships, nine boats and four aircrafts from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia had combed the search area at Malacca Straits.

About 3,000 metric tons of fuel was reportedly siphoned from the ship and power to its generator was also cut off.

The 10 crew members were reported to be safe except for the master and bunker crew who suffered minor injuries. A Singaporean crew member, Mr Lim Puay Huang, 39, is being treated at Hospital Melaka for minor injury, along with others.

This is the third such incident reported in the Malacca Strait after two previous incidents in Feb and May. ReCAAP said the modus operandi involving Joaquim is similar to previous siphoning incidents.

Joaquim was scheduled to arrive at Pulau Langkawi at 3am on Sunday.