"This is just another example of how criminals have infiltrated flag of convenience shipping and pose a risk to Australia," says Maritime Union Australia (MUA) National Secretary Paddy Crumlin.This is a potentially serious problem. In addition to the palm oil tanker, a tanker full of diesel fuel was captured by pirates with "inside" help as reported here.
"These are the same sort of ships and crew that Canberra is dishing out permits to work our coastal trade. At this rate it's just a matter of time before we have an incident in an Australian port or involving an Australian ship. Terrorists could just as easily infiltrate a tanker's crew and turn it into a floating bomb."
But wait, there's more:
Meanwhile a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore has warned that Australia's multi-billion LNG exports are a terrorist target.LNG tankers may be a harder target than an LPG tanker...see my earlier post on LNG risk.
Michael Richardson yesterday warned of a possible al-Qaida inspired attack on tankers carrying Australian liquefied natural gas through the volatile Sulawsi Sea south of Mindanao, Philippines on route to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. ("Maritime attacks could damage our gas exports" - The Australian)
Last year a US report warned LNG tankers were vulnerable to a terrorist attack.