KUALA LUMPUR: Ten Indonesian pirates who seized an oil tanker off the east coast of the Malay peninsula were arrested by Malaysia’s coast guard on Thursday, officials said.
Commando units were rushed by helicopter to the Thai-flagged tanker, which was carrying $1.7 million worth of diesel, after it vanished off tracking systems on Wednesday afternoon, Malaysian maritime officials said.
They found the ship and a smaller boat 37 nautical miles northeast of Pulau Tenggol island at 2:05 a.m. (1805 GMT), the coast guard said in a statement.
Commandos boarded the tanker while warning shots were fired from the helicopter at the smaller boat when it tried to escape.
Ten Indonesians were arrested on board the tanker, known as the MT MGT1, which was escorted to Kuala Terengganu in the state of Terengganu.
An attempt by the coast guard to stop the smaller boat from fleeing failed as the helicopter was running low on fuel and had to return to the mainland.
Three pirates escaped in the smaller boat, and the coast guard is continuing the search for them.
The tanker’s crew of 14 Thai citizens and the coast guard commandos were unharmed, the statement added.
A report by the International Maritime Bureau said there were three attacks by pirates in Malaysian waters in the first half of this year.
Although the number of attacks off islands in the South China Sea has dropped significantly in recent years, ships were still advised to remain vigilant especially at night, it said.