A Vietnamese tanker VP Asphalt 2 crew member was killed by pirates, moving over the coast of Eastern Malaysia in the latest sudden outburst of violations in the strategic Southeast Asian ocean route. This was confirmed by maritime officials on Monday.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the 16-personnel tanker was transporting 2,300 tons asphalt from Singapore to Quy Nhon, Vietnam when attackers surrounded the vessel on Sunday near Aur island away from southern Johor state. According to Noel Choong, director of IMB’s Kuala Lampur–based Piracy Reporting Centre, the robbers went aboard, shot a sailor and took personal belongings of the crew before leaving. Choong went on that the injured crew member was carried to a Singapore hospital but died from his wounds. The incident was the first in almost two years in Malaysian waters but in October the IMB gave notice of a growth of pirate attacks in Southeast Asia, affirming that they constituted the most of globally reported incidents.
According to IMB, the number of pirate attacks for the three quarters of this year was 103 in Southeast Asia out of 178 globally and this exceeded the attacks in Somalian waters. The organization signaled that groups of robbers, carrying knives and guns more often attacked small tankers loaded with oil and diesel, stealing the cargo.
The region is important base of shipping routes as the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, dividing Malaysia and Indonesia. One-third of global trade goes across that area.