The Vietnam Maritime Administration (Vinamarine) has ordered port authorities across the country to warn ship owners and maritime transport companies of the increasing pirate attacks in Southeast Asian waters, particularly around East Sabah and the Southern Philippines.
Vietnam warns of increased piracy in South-east Asian waters
According to Vinamarine, between November 2016 and February 2017, pirates raided two Vietnamese ships, seizing their crew members.
On February 19, Giang Hai cargo ship was attacked by pirates while operating off the Philippines, resulting in one crew member being shot dead and six others held hostage.
Earlier, on November 11, 2016, the Vietnamese vessel Royals 16 was attacked by pirates off the Philippines when it was transporting cement from the northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong to Indonesia. Six crew members were kidnapped during the raid.
In January this year alone, Asia saw six attacks by armed pirates, Vinamarine reported.
Vietnam Register Quality and Safety Certification Centre (VRQC) said that pirates have tended to arrest crew members for ransom rather than stealing cargo.
Pirates often use high-speed vessels and guns to overwhelm ships and are even willing to kill crew members on the spot.
Vinamarine warned international shipping firms of being alert while going through the Straits of Malacca, East Sabah and the South Philippines.
Ships with slow speeds should avoid travelling through these areas.
In case, ships have to go through dangerous areas, they should go in groups.
Ships are advised to operate during daylight hours and avoid islands which pirates may use as a base.
They should be well-equipped to prevent pirate attacks.
Source: Hellenic News