Pirates hijacked a tin-laden Indonesian ship traveling to Singapore and held the crew captive for two days while unloading the cargo in a Malaysian port, a maritime watchdog said Tuesday.(emphasis added)
The pirates, believed to be Indonesians, fired gunshots at the ship and boarded it Friday shortly after it had left Muntok port on the southern tip of Sumatra island, said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
They ordered the crew to sail to Pasir Gudang port in Malaysia's southern Johor state, where the vessel docked for two days while the crew hauled the cargo into a warehouse, Choong said.
"The crew members were warned they would be killed if they didn't cooperate," Choong said.
The pirates eventually took the ship back into Indonesian waters and escaped in a speedboat, leaving the crew uninjured, Choong said.
After the incident was reported, officials checked the warehouse and found the cargo intact.
"We are baffled over what happened," Choong said. "They went through all that trouble to steal the cargo, but it was still there in Pasir Gudang."
However, the incident raised concerns about port security in Pasir Gudang because the pirates had somehow obtained documents that allowed them to book a berth where the vessel could dock and discharge the metal shipment, Choong said.
Gosh, "concerns about port security?" You might think so. And perhaps some questions about corruption, too.
See my earlier report here.
Update: More from Hindustan Times
"It is a daring operation to go into a port. It is the work of a professional syndicate. The syndicate may have made prior arrangements for the ship to unload the cargo in Pasir Gudang port," Choong said.
The ship is now in Singapore, he said.
Looks like the crew and ship might have been released and reported the "sea robbery" before the crooks could get the tin out of the warehouse.