Pirates attempted to board a bulk carrier and a tug boat in two separate incidents off Singapore at the weekend, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia said in a statement.
The 51,300 dwt bulk carrier Woodstar was under way five miles north east of Pulau Batam on Friday night when “an unknown number of robbers were spotted attempting to board the bulk carrier from about four to five motorised boats,” ReCAAP said.
The vessel took evasive action and the robbers were prevented from boarding.
Early on Saturday, the tugboat Octopus was under way 14 miles north east of Horsburgh Lighthouse when the second engineer noticed three robbers armed with knives boarding the tug boat from a black speedboat. After the alarm was sounded the robbers escaped empty-handed, although the second engineer sustained minor injuries.
ReCAAP said crew should “exercise enhanced vigilance” in the area, especially at night. In its latest report ReCAAP noted that piracy incidents in Asia increased 50% to 15 in the year to May 2011.
Piracy incidents in Asia typically involve armed robbery of crew, rather than hijackings and abductions perpetrated by Somali pirates off the horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean.