The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) thwarted an attempted robbery of the M/T Almi Spirit off Tanjung Pai. According to reports, six pirates boarded the Liberian-flagged vessel with machetes on October 15 and attempted to steal the 90,000 tons of marine fuel it was transporting.
Two of the pirates entered the engine room but were spotted by the Almi Spirit’s chief engineer, who sounded the alarm. The robbers and their accomplices, who were on the deck, fled the scene upon hearing the alarm.
The fuel being transported by the Almi Spirt is valued at about $23 million. MMEA says it would have been the year’s largest robbery had it been successful.
Southeast Asia has experienced a spike in piracy this year. In July, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said that incidents of piracy and armed robbery has risen by 18 percent in 2015 over last year in the same period.
On August 21st, Malaysia and Indonesia formed a joint rapid deployment team to respond to the rampant piracy. Malaysia’s base of operations is in Johor and Indonesia’s is on Batam Island.
Almi Spirit is a 2007-built 105,547 dwt tanker. There were 26 crewmembers aboard at the time of incident.