Viet­nam says eight In­done­sians con­fess to hi­jack­ing oil tanker

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Eight In­done­sians ap­pre­hended last week have con­fessed to hi­jack­ing a Malaysian oil tanker, a Viet­namese of­fi­cial said Mon­day.

Col. Doan Bao Quyet, po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar of Viet­nam Coast Guard Re­gion 4 in the south­ern province of Kien Giang, said the In­done­sians, aged 19 to 61, ini­tially said they en­coun­tered an ac­ci­dent at sea while fish­ing when they ar­rived on Tho Chu is­land off Viet­nam’s south­ern coast on Fri­day. But af­ter ques­tion­ing with the im­ages and in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Malaysian author­i­ties, they con­fessed that they were re­spon­si­ble for hi­jack­ing the oil tanker ear­lier this month.

The tanker MT Orkim Harmo- ny was car­ry­ing 7.5 mil­lion liters (2 mil­lion gal­lons) of ga­so­line worth 21 mil­lion ring­git (US$5.7 mil­lion) on its way to Kuantan in Malaysia when com­mu­ni­ca­tions were lost with it on June 11.

Quyet said the group of 13 In­done­sian pi­rates armed with pis­tols and ma­chetes took con­trol of the tanker, and eight re­mained on the tanker while five used their boat to re­turn to In­done­sia to pos­si­bly look for po­ten­tial buy­ers of the ga­so­line.

The tanker was spot­ted Thurs­day and it had been re­painted black from blue.

The pi­rates aban­doned the tanker on Fri­day night and fled to Tho Chu is­land on a life raft. The tanker has sailed to a port in Malaysia.

Quyet said the men were found with dozens of mo­bile phones and a large amount of US dol­lars and Malaysian Ring­git.

The Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency has said the hi­jack­ing was be­lieved to be the work of a syn­di­cate tar­get­ing ves­sels for their car­gos of fuel, and was the fifth such theft in wa­ters off south­ern Malaysia this year.

It was the sec­ond tanker hi­jacked this month. Another Malaysian tanker car­ry­ing diesel fuel was hi­jacked June 4 in the same area and was re­leased af­ter its fuel was si­phoned off.

The In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Bureau says at­tacks against small tankers off South­east Asia’s coasts have been ris­ing since last year.

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