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Korean cargo ship attacked by pirates near Singapore Strait

Korean cargo ship attacked by pirates near Singapore Strait

Posted July. 23, 2019 07:29,   

Updated July. 23, 2019 07:29


A South Korean cargo ship was attacked by pirates near the Singapore Strait, with the crewmen being assaulted and robbed of cash. According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Monday, the 44,132-ton CK Bluebell was attacked by pirates at 4:25 a.m. (Korean time) roughly 100 miles North East off the mouth of the Singapore Strait. The pirates made the chase on a speed boat at over 20 knots, much faster than typical cargo ships which travel at the speed of 15 knots, before seven of them hopped aboard the Korean ship.

Reportedly, one of the pirates was carrying a gun, and two threatened the Korean crewmen with knives. The captain and the second mate of the cargo ship suffered contusion in the process. The pirates stole 13,300 dollars in cash as well as the crew’s clothes, shoes, and their cell phones, before leaving the ship at around 4:55 a.m., 30 minutes after the assault began.

“The case looks like a premeditated cash robbery, given that they were quick to break into the captain’s cabin for the vault,” said a South Korean ministry official. “There is no life damage except the two men who sustained injury.”

There were a total of 22 men onboard the CK Bluebell, with four Koreans and 18 Indonesians. The ship was en route to Incheon after shipping 68,000 tons of corn in Brazil and refueling in Singapore. The cargo ship in question is scheduled to enter the Incheon port on July 30.

“We’ve updated every member of security managers of South Korean-flagged ships on the developments, while ordering seven of Korean ships traveling near the strait in question to step up their security effort against piracy,” the ministry announced. Meanwhile, Korea Coast Guard requested the operator of the CK Bluebell to secure forensic evidence such as the assailants’ fingerprints, and is preparing to launch an investigation into the case once the cargo ship returns home.

Won-Mo Yu onemore@donga.com