Pirates prefer energy cargo
Black market for oil proves lucrative for thieves.
Pirates prefer energy cargo – Analysis
By Vijay Sakhuja
Early this month, pirates released the hijacked MT Sunrise 689, a small product tanker bound for Vietnam which went missing soon after it left Singapore. During the captivity that lasted nearly six days, the pirates siphoned 2,000 of the total 5,200 metric tons of oil valued at $4 million. They also stole the personal belongings of the crew and threatened to kill if they did not follow orders – but assured them that their only aim was to steal the oil carried onboard the vessel.
This is the 12th incident of piracy in Southeast Asia involving small oil tankers. These vessels are easy targets because they are small, have smaller crews, move at slow speeds, and the low freeboard makes boarding comparatively easier and quicker. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of these attacks is that pirates in Southeast Asia have taken a liking for small product tankers carrying diesel that is sold to prospective customers, who re-sell for anywhere between $400 and $650 per ton in the black market.
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