A vietnamese ship on its way from Singapore to Vietnam was attacked by pirates early yesterday morning, with one of its crew members dying in a Singapore hospital shortly after he was taken there.
The dead sailor, a Vietnamese whose name is not known, was airlifted to hospital by a Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopter.
He is believed to have suffered severe head injuries after up to seven pirates hijacked the asphalt/bitumen tanker VP Asphalt 2, which was outside Singapore waters when the incident took place around 5.30am.
The Vietnam-registered ship belonging to VP Petrochemical Transport had left Singapore around 10pm last Saturday.
Pirates robbed crew members of their valuables and left the ship after 1½ hours on board. Around 16 crew members were present, a source told The Straits Times.
When contacted, the Ministry of Defence confirmed the involvement of a Super Puma helicopter in the incident.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, ship hijackings are on the rise in South-east Asia, which currently accounts for the majority of hijackings worldwide.
There were 103 reported incidents in the region from January to September this year, compared with 81 for the same period last year and 32 cases over the period in 2009.
The bureau's statistics also show that 22 hijacking reports over the period this year involved Singapore-registered ships.
In July, a Singaporean cargo officer on board the Hai Soon 6 oil tanker sailing off the coast of West Africa was held captive by a dozen African pirates. He was beaten up but survived. The pirates left the tanker after nine days.
This article was first published on Dec 08, 2014.
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