This incident is unique both in terms of its location and type of vessel targeted. SEA remains a global hot spot for maritime security issues, however, has recently experienced a downturn in incidents.
Involving the targeting of large vessels of this type have been extremely rare across the last two years, with many incidents targeting smaller vessels, for either the theft of parts or as has often been the case within the Sulu and the Celebes Sea, the Kidnap of fishermen. It is very rare for an incident to occur within the South China Sea with a larger vessel as the target. Incidents of this nature have declined in recent years as a result of a significant increase in reporting and counter-piracy patrols.
From initial reporting, the vessel was not displaying any vessel hardening measures and thus presented an opportunistic target. The location of the incident means that the perpetrators are highly likely to have originated from Malaysia or the nearby Anambas Islands. Whilst a single event does not indicate a trend in incidents, it is likely that the significant success of the incident is highly likely to result in increased confidence of the perpetrators leading to a likelihood that they will seek to conduct similar attacks again.