MMEA sets up task force to investigate hijacking of Thai oil tanker

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has set up a special task force to investigate the attack on a Thai oil tanker by a group of pirates in waters off Kuantan on Friday.

Its director-general Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakar said MMEA has contacted the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre to is assistance in the probe.

He said since the hijack incident is a cross border crime, MMEA will also coordinate with the Indonesian navy and Singapore Police Coast Guard.

“We will share intelligence to tackle such incidents from occurring in the future and we hope to track down the perpetrators. MMEA’s assets have been deployed to conduct sea and air patrols at hot spots with the assistance from Royal Malaysian Navy and marine police.

“Such incident can be curbed with the cooperation from all quarters and ship operators must immediately report such cases so that the authorities can deploy their assets to the location,” he said in a statement today.

Zulkifli said MMEA had only received information about the Thai tanker hijack some 21 hours after the incident.

He said based on their experience in solving previous fuel-siphoning cases, he was confident the recent case on Friday will be solved.

In the incident, a group of armed pirates hijacked the oil tanker at about 9pm and made off with about 1.5 million litres of diesel.

The tanker, CP41, was boarded by pirates when it was en route from Singapore to Songkhla province in southern Thailand.

The pirates, armed with guns and knives, had captured the captain and crew members during the incident before destroying the onboard communications equipment.

The captain and crew members were unharmed.

The tanker, which was transporting 3.8 million litres of diesel, has returned to Thailand and is docked at Noo Island, off Songkhla.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News