MT Lee Bo Robbery - 1 June 2018

The Piracy Report covers acts of piracy (in international waters), armed robbery of ships (in territorial waters) and maritime terrorism. Related maritime crimes such as incidents against fishing boats and tugboats are also incorporated in the report and the underlying reasons for incidents are investigated in order create a more complete picture for domain awareness. Below, incidents for September 2018.
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Fourteen men armed with knives and machetes.boarded MT Lee Bo  early morning 1 June 2018 off Mersing, Malaysia at position 02:19.089N, 104:15.144E. After they realised there was no product on board, they stole the crew members’ laptops, mobile phones and money. Two crew members were also injured during the attack. 
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) acquired intelligence from a wiretap that a vessel was identified to be hijacked for product at 16:00LT the day before the attack.  MT Lee Bo was not the intended target. They planned to siphon product from the hijacked vessel into a pirate vessel, MT Bright that was nearby. They changed their plans to hijack the MT Lee Bo at the last minute without knowing that there was no product on board at the time.

On 1 June 2018 at 04:00LT MMEA dispatched a helicopter when they received confirmation of a hijacking. After locating the MT Bright, they boarded and searched the vessel. Sixteen pirates were arrested on MT Bright by members of the MMEA. Two gang leaders (Mr A and Mr F) were arrested in Batam, Indonesia at 09:30 Malaysian Time with the help and cooperation of Indonesian authorities.

MT Bright was flying the Mongolian flag at the time. The vessel is owned by a businessman from Singapore, Jimmy Tan who was also the financier for the operation.
The area north of Singapore off the east coast of Malaysia has been a favourite spot for hijackings of Product Tankers in the past.  In 2017 two tankers C.P.41 and MGT1 were hijacked for product in this area. In the case of MGT1 ten pirates were arrested by MMEA. Further information let to the arrest of the mastermind a few days later.  
Sources: MMEA;
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