Thai ship latest victim of Malacca pirates
  Thai ship latest victim of Malacca pirates

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Kuala Lumpur - Heavily armed pirates in Malaysian waters attacked a Thai oil tanker carrying jet fuel bound for Phuket, a maritime watchdog said Tuesday.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, said that in the April 25 incident, eight armed pirates on a powerful speedboat boarded the Thai tanker.

Maritime officials identified the tanker as Pataravarin 2.

Choong said the pirates attacked the ship's master and stole the seafarers' money before escaping in the dark.

The ship was heading into the Singapore Strait on the way to Phuket in southern Thailand, he said.

Choong said this was the second pirate attack in the past three months in Malaysian waters.

In another incident in the pirate infested waters of the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia, a South Korean bulk carrier came under pirate attack on Monday at about 0940 GMT (4:40pm Thailand time), he said.

Choong said pirates believed to be from Somalia attacked the ship for about 40 minutes with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The ship was hit by a rocket and bullets, he said, adding that the captain took evasive measures to prevent the 10 pirates in two speed boats from boarding, he said.

Choong said the ship was still sailing to its destination in Europe despite the damage suffered in the attack.

There has been an unprecedented surge in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden with 13 attacks so far this year, Choong said.

He urged seafarers to remain on high alert while plying the waters off Somalia which has emerged as one of the most dangerous waterways for seafarers amid a non-functioning government in the country for almost two decades.

The waters off Nigeria and Somalia are the world's most dangerous hotspots for seafarers, with pirate attacks increasing globally in the first quarter of this year, the IMB said last week.

It recorded 49 incidents worldwide in the period, compared with 41 last year. (Compiled by BangkokPost.com from Agency reports)

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