Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hijacked Ship

There has been a lot of hype about piracy in Somalia and one tend to forget about the piracy in this region. Last Saturday, one of my ship had been hijacked by pirates.

Incident happened at 0050 at the following coordinate: 1 degree 12.3' N, 103 degrees 54.2' E. As can be seen from the chart, it is not far away from Singapore and the Indonesian Islands. There was no piracy watch at the time as there has never been any reports regarding piracy at this position before. Besides, the ship just left Singapore port about 1 hour ago. The area is outside Singapore port limit and hence can be regarded as international water. Note that it is not even far away from Sentosa Island

With no piracy watch, the pirates board the ship rather easily from the STBD aft of the ship. They came with a small wooden boat powered with a speed boat engine. The captain first noticed the pirates and immediately ran to the engine room to avoid them

The captain notify the Chief Engineer to activate the fire alarm in the effort to scare off the pirates. Hence, he activated the fire alarm by heating the heat detector from the engine room

The were armed with long knifes and iron rod. They left the knife sheaths behind. I took the liberty to measure them and the longest measured to be around 53cm and the other one at 33cm. According to eye witnesses, there were 5 pirates altogether. 1 standby at their boat, 1 armed with iron rod and 3 with knives

Strange thing about the pirates, they were unable to open the weathertight doors even though the doors were not locked from the inside. maybe they were confused with the 6 handles at the doors. Hence, they had to went all the way to the Bridge and gain access through the Bridge's door.

With their long knives, they easily intimidated the crew and the crew surrender without much resistance. I would say the pirates were quite smart to cut all the VHF radios and internal communication cables. Due to the close proximity to Singapore, the crew could easily ask help from the Singapore coast guard if they had the communication equipment.

They then tied a crew's hand to this steering wheel to avoid the ship from escaping and making a return to Singapore water under a watchful eye of one of the pirates

The ringing alarm bell was also damaged by them. The ceiling is slightly damaged and the alarm bell was partially disengaged from its mounting on the wall

Their main target was the captain and they manage to held a crew hostage with knives at his throat. As the captain went on hiding, nobody knews where he was. So, the pirates forced the crew to show where is the captain's room. They kicked the door and manage a force entry into it. They manage to get away with RM 1,000, a laptop and a mobile phone from the room.

I also been notify one of the pirates bleed. I believe he cut himself when trying to unlock the door knob from the inside by inserting his hand through the damaged door

These are some of the marks left behind by the pirates' knives when threatening the crew. The blades were sure a sharp one.

On seeing the pirates with the knives, the Chief Officer at the time was in his room and jump out of his cabin's window. I would say he is lucky to survive the jump with no apparent injury and broken bones as the height is 3.6m down to a steel floor. He is even lucky his head didn't hit any pipes or metal object which could mean instant death.

The pirates also try to steal this INMARSAT-C unit as they thought it is a computer. Fortunately, my crew able to bluff them and they didn't took it with them. The whole incident happened in a short while, roughly only 15 minutes. They didn't even went to the engine room and other crew's cabin

These are some of the crew I interviewed to get a clearer picture on what really happened on that day. The 2 crew members with the cap were the crew held hostages at the time of the incident. Fortunately, no one is hurt or kidnapped.

From the statements gather from all the crew, I would rate the pirates as "amateur" and involved with petty crimes as money and valuables items were their target. The nationality of the pirates are believed to be Indonesian. The pirates also reported to be nervous when carrying out the heist due to the close proximity to Singapore.

This is the first time in my nearly 8 years career with this shipping company which I encountered with a piracy case. Anyway, the incident investigation had been carried out accordingly and I will report the matter to the appropriate authorities.


Ai-Ling said...

oh dear...it's a terrifying experience. thank goodness no one was hurt. take care :)

Kuching Remisier Blog said...

wow pirate... haha.. this can be a nice report for the police haha..

♥ Han한 said...

wooah, i thought there isnt any pirate existing in this world anymore..

mhel said...

I thought I was reading an action-adventure fiction. I'm also glad no one got hurt.

I'm wondering, is there someone tried beyond the call of duty and be a hero?

eunice said...

At first when I read the first paragraph, I thought you were kidding! I was thinking, wow what a creative way to blog hehehehe

Then OMG! What a dangerous experience with the pirates! No joke man! Fortunately all of you were not hurt, right? Only the silly pirate hurt himself =P

Really scary to hear about pirate. I have never been on a cruise before, wonder if it's safe! My bro-in-law works in the sea, travelling all over the world, hope he is safe from all these dangerous encounters.

Borneo Falcon said...

No one should be a hero when pirates came onboard. The rules are to fight as hard as possible to repel their boarding but after they board the ship, they win.

Cruise ship is safe as the ship has great height and pirates will need long grapnel hook for it. Besides ships now are equipped with some security equipment under the ISPS Code requirement.

Daryl Teo said...

Looking at the damaged doors from their weapons, you could tell they meant business. Luckily nobody was hurt! Seems as of late piracy has been really rampant, hopefully the Navy and marine police are stepping up policing our waters.

Bengbeng said...

phew this is an eye opener

soulesscloudy said...

wow... take care.. really dangerous.. thanks god that all the crew is safe....

Johnny Ong said...

where were the navy from spore, msia and indon when u need them?

Precious Pea said...

Hi! Thanks for leaving me a comment.

Wow..that must be a terrifying experience. Not reported in the news?

Borneo Falcon said...

For petty criminal like this, I think the newspaper also will not be interested. I reported to International Maritime Bureau (IMB) so that they can alert other ships about the threat in that area

escape said...

thats quite a sad news to seafarers. this happens a lot in somalia.