The Sunrise 689. Image courtesy of VNExpress.

A missing Vietnamese oil tanker traveling from Singapore to Vietnam was likely hijacked by pirates, authorities said.

The Sunrise 689 lost contact with its operator Hai Phong Sea Products Shipbuilding a few hours after leaving port last week.

The tanker is carrying 5,225 tons of gas oil, a type of fuel distilled from petroleum, and 18 crew members.

The Sunrise 689 was last detected 115 nautical miles off the coast of Singapore and was expected to arrive in Vietnam early Wednesday, AP said.

“There are almost no possibilities of technical failure or bad weather. It’s likely that the tanker was hijacked,” a Hai Phong Sea spokesman said.

If the Sunrise 689 was hijacked it would be the twelfth such case since April in Southeast Asia. The tankers are usually hijacked and their cargo is stolen before the vessel is released.

The ship has been officially classified as missing.

The International Maritime Bureau said the tanker’s communication equipment seems to have either been switched off or destroyed. Officials have been unable to locate the tanker through satellite.

Vietnam’s coast guard is searching for the tanker.

Interpol has been alerted and other vessels have been asked to be on the lookout for the Sunrise 689 and pirates.


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