The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is warning small tankers and their owners to ensure that strict anti-piracy measures are in place in respect of all vessels travelling through the South China Sea in response to a series of tanker hijackings, reports the Maritime Executive.

There are at least six known cases of coastal tankers being hijacked for their cargoes of diesel since April this year. Up until this point, the majority of attacks in the region were boardings for petty theft. Accordingly, officials in the region are becoming increasingly worried about this heightened risk.

The IMB is advising all ships, but small tankers in particular, to maintain strict anti-piracy measures and vessels are advised to monitor the IMB PRC satellite broadcast warnings via InMARSAT C EGC Safety Net and to report all attacks and suspicious sightings to the IMB-PRC.