Early yesterday morning the Liberian- registered oil tanker carrying 90,000 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil worth US$23mil (RM95mil) entered the Malaysian waters when the alert Ukrainian shipmaster, in his early 50s, spotted two pirates walking towards the tanker’s main engine room while another four were on the main deck.
The quick-witted shipmaster contacted officials from the Tanjung Pelepas Port (PTP) who directed the vessel to enter the port. Two vessels were deployed immediately by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Johor Baru after receiving the information at about 6.10am.
The tanker was anchored four nautical miles from PTP at about 8.35am when the shipmaster hit the distress button. It startled the six pirates who jumped into the sea and made good in boats upon seeing the MMEA vessels.
A dozen MMEA personnel went on board the vessel; checked its crew lists and forensic tests to identify the pirates. A gravelling hook used by the suspects to board the vessel was also found from where the fingerprints will be lifted and cross-checked with MMEA database to find out the pirates’ involvement in other cases.
The heavy presence of MMEA in known hotspots keeps the number of piracy in Malaysian waters at a low level. Quick action by the shipmaster saved not only the goods from being looted but also the lives of his 25 crewmen.
Source: The Star