SEOUL/SINGAPORE (REUTERS) – Pirates attacked a South Korean-flagged cargo ship near the Singapore Strait early on Monday (July 22), assaulting the crew and making off with thousands of dollars in cash, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

According to the officials at South Korea’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the pirates made off with US$13,000 (S$17,690) in cash after attacking the CK BlueBell before dawn.

Besides the cash, some sailors lost their personal belongings, including mobile phones, clothes and shoes, to the attackers, they added.

No casualties were reported in the attack, they said, noting that some sailors sustained minor injuries, such as bruises, during their confrontations with the pirates.

“Ordinary freighters navigate at a speed below 15 knots. But a speed boat operated by the pirates approached the freighter at a speed above 20 knots. Afterwards, seven weapon-wielding pirates got on board and assaulted the sailors for about 30 minutes,” a ministry official said, according to Yonhap.

Singapore police, who manage the island-nation’s coastguard, did not comment immediately on the incident.

Piracy has fallen in the busy sea lane that runs past Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in recent years amid heavier policing.