Eight In­done­sians jailed for tanker hi­jack in Malaysia

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EIGHT In­done­sians were sen­tenced to be­tween 15 and 18 years in prison by a Malaysian court for the hi­jack­ing of an oil tanker last year, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

The tanker MT Orkim Har­mony was car­ry­ing around 6000 tonnes of petrol worth an es­ti­mated US$5.6 mil­lion when it was com­man­deered by the eight men on June 11 last year. The tanker was en route from Malaysia’s western coast to the port of Kuan­tan on the east coast.

Six of the pirates were sen­tenced to 15 years in jail and five strokes of the cane, while the other two were handed 18-year jail sen­tences, a Malaysian of­fi­cial said.

Noel Choong, head of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Bu­reau’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Re­port­ing Cen­ter, said the ship­ping com­mu­nity hailed the pun­ish­ment.

The sus­pects had eluded se­cu­rity forces by es­cap­ing from the tanker on a lifeboat un­der cover of dark­ness, au­thor­i­ties said at the time, af­ter war­ships were scram­bled to hunt down the men.

The tanker’s 22 crew mem­bers were mostly unscathed ex­cept for an In­done­sian sailor who was treated for a gun­shot wound.

The hi­jack­ers sub­se­quently washed up on Viet­nam’s south­west­ern Tho Chu is­land on a lifeboat claim­ing to have had an ac­ci­dent at sea about a week af­ter the hi­jack.

But they were taken into cus­tody af­ter lo­cal of­fi­cials dis­cov­ered they were car­ry­ing large sums of cash, and were ac­cused of hi­jack­ing the MT Orkim Har­mony oil tanker.

The In­done­sian pirates were ex­tra­dited to Malaysia af­ter be­ing held by Viet­namese au­thor­i­ties for al­most 18 months. –

Photo: EPA

The MT Orkim Har­mony tanker sits docked at Kuan­tan Port, Pa­hang, Malaysia.

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