SE Asian Surge
There has been a surge in pirate activity around the Malaysian coast in the past week.
Pirates have struck off the west coast of Sabah near Labuan island and made off with RM80,000 (US$26,000) in cash and goods after boarding a supply boat in the second such attack.
Sabah CID chief, ACP Omar Mammah, said masked men onboard a speedboat intercepted the supply craft on its way to deliver goods about 11 nautical miles off Kota Kinabalu at 8.30pm on Thursday.
The supply boat was believed to be on its way to deliver wages and supplies to another vessel at sea.
Omar said that RM75,000 was in cash, adding that the crew members lost personal belongings including handphones totalling about RM5,000.
This is the second reported act of piracy in a week along the Labuan-Sabah west coastline, he said.
In the earlier incident on Feb 14, an offshore supply boat with foreign crew members were robbed of RM15,000 in a pirate attack 4.5 nautical miles off Labuan.
Maritime enforcement agencies have been placed on full alert since the attacks and a search for the assailants is underway.
Omar also appealed for information,
The western seaboard of the state has has been considered relatively safe for small vessels unlike the notorious waters off the state’s eastern seaboard where acts of piracy are not uncommon.
Foreign missions have from time to time issued travel warnings to their citizens to be cautious when travelling to the islands, dive sites and coastal areas of eastern Sabah because of the high threat of kidnapping by terrorists and criminals.