Pirates Attack Korean Bulker in South China Sea

Anambas Islands, Indonesia (file image)

Published Jul 22, 2019 7:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

Early Monday morning, seven pirates boarded the South Korea-flagged bulker CK Bluebell and made off with cash and personal items, including clothing and shoes belonging to the crew. 

The attack occurred near the Anambas Islands, an outlying part of Indonesia's Riau Archipelago located about 150 nm to the northeast of Singapore in the South China Sea. 

The pirates approached the vessel in a speedboat, boarded and assaulted the crew, according to South Korea's Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. One was armed with a pistol and the others carried knives. Two crewmembers sustained minor injuries in the exchange, including bruises. 

The losses included about $13,000 in cash, along with a variety of personal effects. Two crewmembers were injured during the boarding. 

The Bluebell was bound for Incheon at the time of the attack, and she resumed her normal commercial voyage after the pirates departed. 

Piracy in Southeast Asia has been on the decline for years, thanks in part to a successful policing effort on the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Singapore. Attacks in another regional hotspot, the area off Sabah, Malaysia, have also been reduced through a combination of shoreside military operations and maritime patrols.