The MT Penrider, owned by Malaysian interests, laden with 1,000 mt of fuel oil
was en route from Singapore
to Penang when it was attacked off Port Klang
by armed pirates at about 13.30 hrs. on Sunday, 10 August 2003. The pirates armed with automatic weapons took control of the vessel. The Malaysian Rescue and Coordination Centre in Klang was alerted to the incident and a Marine Police patrol boat was sent to the scene. Negotiations took place between the vessel's owners and the pirates and eventually the vessel was released and allowed to proceed to Penang. However, the vessel's master, chief engineer and assistant engineer were taken hostage by the pirates and remain so pending payment of the ransom demanded by the pirates. The pirates also took from the vessel cash, mobile phones, clothing and shipping documents.
We understand that the vessel's owners, Progresif Cekap, are negotiating for the release of the crew members taken hostage. It is believed that a ransom of USD 100,000 has been demanded.
It is not known for certain who is responsible for this attack, but it is believed to be Aceh rebels who have been fighting for independence since 1976. In the past their modus operandi has been such military style attacks. Since May armed pirates have attacked eight vessels off the Aceh coast, including a Norwegian LPG carrier and an Indian oil tanker.
The Malaysian authorities are investigating the incident and seeking cooperation from the Indonesian Marine Police. The Kuala Lumpur based Piracy Reporting Centre is monitoring the situation closely.
Members should ensure that their crews are alert to the possibility of attacks in this region and anti-piracy measures are in place to protect vessels and their crews.