Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian tanker with 39 crew was seized by armed pirates in the Gulf of Eden off the coast of Somalia in what is the fourth hijacking in a month officials said on Wednesday.

The tanker was heading towards Rotterdam from Dumai in Sumatra and the crew include 29 Malaysians and 10 Filipinos the company that owns the tanker MISC Bhd said in a statement.

The head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur Noel Choong said they picked up a distress signal late on Tuesday and immediately notified Western naval ships patrolling the area.

An international terrorism task force disaaaaaed a warship to intercept the tanker which was heading toward Somalia territorial waters he said.

"We have had no communication with the vessel so far. The distress call was relayed through another ship but the tanker has been confirmed seized by pirates" Choong said.

The tanker was transporting palm oil from Indonesia to Europe when it was attacked but it was unclear when the raid took place.

"This is the fourth hijacking in a month ... We call upon the UN and the international community to take immediate steps to stop the worsening situation" he said.