Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hijacked Johor tanker and crew saved just in time

A crew member of the MT Nautica Johor Bahru showing the
painted-over name on the tanker’s starboard.
KUANTAN: A group of pirates abandoned a ship they had hijacked after they were pursued and surrounded by Malaysian enforcement teams near an Indonesian island.

During the incident at 5.30am on Thursday, the tanker MT Nautica Johor Bahru with 19 crewmen aboard, was on its way from Malacca to Sibu when it was boarded by 10 hijackers armed with a pistol and machetes in the Straits of Singapore.

When the shipping company failed to get a response from the tanker at about 9.20am the following day, it contacted the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), which deployed a helicopter to track the ship.
The tanker, which was carrying RM12mil in oil and gas, was found some 85 nautical miles east of Pekan, Pahang at about 3.20pm on Friday.

Naval Area One Commander First Admiral Royal Datuk Mohamad Roslan Mohamad Ramli said three navy ships, which were involved in an exercise in nearby Pulau Tioman, were deployed to pursue the tanker.

“We managed to intercept the tanker near Pulau Jemaja, Indonesia after receiving clearance from the Indonesian Maritime Security Coordinating Body to enter their waters.
“The Indonesian navy also deployed a ship to help us,” he told a press conference at the Kuantan Port here yesterday.
Mohamad Roslan said the hijackers slowed down the tanker and switched off its lights when they realised that they were surrounded.
Tang (right) recounting the ordeal to (from left) the tanker’s owner Datuk Abdul Hak Md Amin, Mohamad Roslan and Nasir at Kuantan Port Saturday. — Bernama
“Despite the darkness, we tracked a speedboat approach-ing the tanker from Pulau Jemaja.
“The hijackers were believed to have disembarked on the speedboat at about 9.10pm.
“The tanker's captain Tang Ah Be then contacted the rescuers and told them the hijackers had fled with his crew's personal belongings and money,” he added.
Mohamad Roslan said the foreign hijackers were believed to have targeted the tanker's car-go.
“The hijackers even painted over the tanker's company logo and name to avoid detection,” he added.
Eastern Region MMEA chief First Admiral Nasir Adam said the incident was the second reported case this year.

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