Pirates robbed a Singapore-registered tug boat towing a granite-ladened barge in the Straits of Singapore Sunday morning.
Masked parang-wielding pirates robbed a Singapore-registered tug boat towing a granite-ladened barge in the Straits of Singapore Sunday morning.
'Weihai 5' was towing 'Jovan 1', the barge loaded with granite from Lumut, Perak enroute here, when five pirates boarded it northeast of Helen Mar Reef in the east bound lane of the Singapore Straits from their speed boat at 2.25am.
Four of them wearing masks and armed with parangs, snatched mobile phones, money and other valuables from the six Indonesian crew on board the tug boat, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) here today.
In a statement, the centre said the pirates who did not harm the crew, however, damaged the communication equipment on board the tug boat before fleeing.
The master of the tug boat later reported the incident to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System via VHF radio.
Singapore's Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) then initiated a broadcast, warning mariners about the incident and notified the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency.
The centre said, yesterday�s piracy incident was the first reported this year that occurred off Helen Mar Reef.
Last year, seven incidents were reported in the vicinity.
Of these, five incidents involved tug boats and the rest involved a tanker and a general cargo ship.
The centre has advised shipmasters and crew to maintain extra vigilance as the trend from past incidents indicated that the pirates were likely to strike in succession and move on to another location.