A Thai-flagged oil tanker that went missing for two days after being hijacked by pirates has been released with its cargo missing, the International Maritime Bureau said Tuesday.
The IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre said the vessel became uncontactable on Sunday after leaving Singapore four days earlier.
"The pirates stole its cargo and caused some damage to the ship's communication equipment. All crew safe," the centre said in a short alert.
It added that the ship, originally bound for Vietnam, was heading back to Singapore, citing its owners.
Pirate attacks in the region, home to the Straits of Malacca, a key shipping route connecting east Asia with Europe and Africa, have dropped in recent years following stepped up patrols and co-operation with neighbouring countries to secure waterways.
But pirate attacks have surged this year, with the Southeast Asian region reporting the highest number of incidences (57) in the first half of 2013, according to the IMB.