JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has been deploying more of its personnel to beef up patrolling following an increase in hijackings off the waters here.
Its southern region public relation officer Lt Mohd Sufian Anuar said that the agency recorded an increase of between 25% and 30% in hijacking cases in the stateover the past three years.
“We had about six hijack cases in 2013, 10 cases in 2014 and another two cases this year, most of which involved oil tankers,” he told StarMetro recently.
Lt Mohd Sufian said that the agency had been increasing patrols especially around the borders of Thailand and Indonesia in efforts to prevent hijackings on Malaysian waters.
“We are utilising more assets to increase patrol especially at places identified as hotspots for hijackings including Pengerang waters in Kota Tinggi and Pulau Aur in Mersing, where the two cases were recorded this year.
“We also launched an operation early this year, which led to the successful arrest of a group of pirates who had attempted to hijack a vessel carrying 700 tonnes of Marine Fuel Oil in January,” he said.
He added in the most recent case, a Malaysian-flagged oil tanker was hijacked off Pulau Aur in Mersing on June 4.
“The case, however, has been referred to our counterparts in Kuantan, as the ship was later found there,” he said before declining to comment further.
It was reported on Star Online that the ship was boarded by armed men just 14km southwest of Pulau Aur near Mersing at about 12.15am.
The pirates had stolen the ship’s bounty along with several other items belonging to the ship and its crew.