By Alex Richardson
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Malaysian navy commandos foiled an attempted hijacking of a Malaysian-owned ship by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, rescuing 23 crew members and detaining seven pirates, military officials said.
The Singapore-bound chemical tanker, MT Bunga Laurel, was carrying lubricating oil and ethylene dichloride worth an estimated 30 million ringgit ($9.8 million) when it was attacked by pirates about 300 nautical miles (555 km) east of Oman on Thursday, said the Royal Malaysian Navy.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government was studying international law on how to deal with the detained pirates.
“We will determine what we should do, whether we are going to bring them here to be tried or take any other appropriate action,” The Star newspaper quoted Najib as saying.
The incident, which happened close to midnight on Thursday, involved the navy’s auxiliary ship, Bunga Mas 5, which was located 14 nautical miles (25.9km) away.
“At exactly 11.40 p.m., Bunga Mas 5 called MISC’s Emergency Reporting Centre to report that Bunga Laurel had been attacked and pirates were attempting to board the ship by using skiffs,” said Navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar.
Bunga Laurel is owned by Malaysian International Shipping Corp (MISC) , the world’s largest owner of liquefied natural gas tankers.
Gunshots were exchanged between the pirates and snipers from the Bunga Mas 5 and a Fennec attack helicopter.
The pirates, three suffering serious injuries from gunshots or splinters, surrendered via radio after coming under heavy fire. ($1 = 3.053 Malaysian Ringgit) (Reporting by Julie Goh; Editing by Alex Richardson)