Four of five SE Asia tanker hijackings in Q3 are thought to be work of one gang (file photo)
So far this year, a number of vessels in Southeast Asia have fallen victim to attacks by bunker pirates, and Maritime risk consultants Dryad Maritime (Dryad) says it expects piracy to rise in the region in Q4 2014.
It said that there had been five tanker hijackings, four of which occurred off Singapore and were likely perpetrated by the same gang.
30 vessels have been boarded while at Anchor in the area to the east of the Singapore Strait between Q1 and Q3 2014 as compared with nine for the same period in that area during 2013.
And Dryad expects the trend to continue with a higher number of incidents to come in Q4 2014.
"Criminal syndicates will continue to target small product tankers soon after they depart Singapore with the intention of stealing their cargo of marine fuel oil for the black market," said Dryad.
However, Dryad reported that improved patrolling by Indonesian authorities had seen a drop in the number of incidents in the country's main ports, except those to the east of the Singapore Strait.
Criminal syndicates will continue to target small product tankers soon after they depart Singapore
The message was nonetheless one of concern.
"All vessels at anchor in the major ports across Southeast Asia remain at risk of boarding by opportunistic local criminals with the target being ship stores, which are easily resold in thriving local markets," it said.
Dryad also said that Horn of Africa piracy was being kept low by poor weather and coalition anti-piracy efforts, but that while a number of tanker hijacks had been thwarted around the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, the intent to continue such actions was strong.
This week the Vietnamese tanker, Sunrise 689, that went missing last week was confirmed to have been hijacked by bunker pirates who stole a third of its cargo of marine gasoil.