Tanker hijacked in Malacca Strait

MT Lapin hijacked, ‘bomb’ left on board. 

Tanker hijacked in Malacca Strait

Following warnings from P&I Clubs that shipping companies should not use PMSCs in Southeast Asia, a tanker has been hijacked off Malaysia. The MT Lapin was transiting from Singapore to Thailand with a cargo of diesel when it was boarded around 40nm off Port Klang, Malaysia, by eight men armed with firearms and knives at around 1955 LT on February 13th.

The pirates took control of the ship and brought a second ship alongside before siphoning off the Lapin’s cargo and bunker oil.

In a disturbing twist, before leaving the ship, the pirates planted an improvised explosive device (IED) on the ship’s bridge. According to reports, this resembled TNT with wires coming out of it. The Master of the ship was advised by the Royal Thai Navy (RNT) to anchor the vessel around 11nm from Pak Baran deepsea port and the RNT then sent an explosives team on board to deal with the device.

At the time of writing, we do not know whether the device left by the pirates was viable, but it does represent a significant escalation in a region which has suffered a number of hijackings in the last year. Hijacking for cargo theft remains an issue in Southeast Asia, with one hijacked tanker’s whereabouts still not known by the authorities.

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