Pacific Piracy On The Rise

Spate of attacks on shipping in the Asia Pacific marks return of piracy in the region.

A Vietnamese bulker master was held hostage while pirates armed with knives ransacked his ship off Indonesia, last week, Tradewinds reports.

The 26,000-dwt Vinalines Star (built 1993) was 11 miles west of Pulau Mangkai in the early hours of Wednesday morning when the six robbers boarded, according to reports.

The pirates   tied up the duty officer and another crewman,then rounded up the rest of the crew.

The captain was held hostage until the men took off with cash and valuables. 

"This is just another attack in a spate of piracy in the Asia Pacific," said MUA national secretary and ITF president Paddy Crumlin.  "Both the ITF and the MUA have been working with governments and industry to protect ships crew from piracy. Now it's back with avengance in the Asia Pacific."

The MUA worked with the Australian Government last year to develop guidelines in response to the escalation in piracy - and subsequent risks for maritime workers.

The Advisory Guidelines for Shipping Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery at sea are designed for Australian shipping and crew and also foreign registered vessels carrying Australian import and export cargo into or through high risk piracy and robbery at sea areas.

Other recent attacks in the region include:

• August 17, the 29,800-dwt tanker Chem Orchid  attacked off Pulau Mangkai en route from Singapore to Vietnam.

• August 16: ,Stolt's 11,600-dwt tanker Stolt Botan (built 1998) attacked in the same area when six pirates with knives boarded via the poop deck.

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