Four robbers armed with long knives boarded a general cargo ship underway off an Indonesian island, south of the Singapore Strait.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy reporting centre said the attack took place shortly after midnight on May 13.

The robbers boarded the vessel four nautical miles (nm) off Pulau Mapur, a small island some 35 nm from the eastern end of the Strait.

The robbers seized a crew member and forced their way into the Master’s cabin.

Both the crew member and the Master were tied up. The robbers then escaped with cash and personal belongings.

The attack on the general cargo ship closely resembled a robbery against a bulk carrier in the same sea area on November 5, 2018.

In both cases robbers armed with knives boarded vessels under cover of darkness while the ships were underway near the Indonesian island of Pulau Mapur.

In both cases crew members were threatened before the robbers escaped with personal property and cash.

Pulau Mapur is close to Indonesia’s Bintan Island which lies on the south-eastern side of the Singapore Strait.

There is a history of vessels being boarded while at anchor or underway off Bintan.

Intruders have often been armed with knives and machetes. They have generally stolen crew member’s belongings, cash and engine spares.

Ships should be vigilant when off Bintan and in the southern waters of the South China Sea.

They should be especially alert at night and when close to the coast.

An alarm should be raised if any small vessels make a suspicious approach.

Source: Gray Page