Indonesian navy rescues 21 on hijacked oil tanker, 9 detained

The MV Hai Soon 12 disappeared from radar in the Karimata Strait, said the Indonesian navy. The nine perpetrators (some seen above) climbed up the poop deck of the ship from a small boat in waters off Pulau Belitung.
The MV Hai Soon 12 disappeared from radar in the Karimata Strait, said the Indonesian navy. The nine perpetrators (some seen above) climbed up the poop deck of the ship from a small boat in waters off Pulau Belitung.PHOTO: TNI-AL
The MV Hai Soon 12 disappeared from radar in the Karimata Strait, said the Indonesian navy. The nine perpetrators (some seen above) climbed up the poop deck of the ship from a small boat in waters off Pulau Belitung.
The MV Hai Soon 12 disappeared from radar in the Karimata Strait, said the Indonesian navy. The nine perpetrators climbed up the poop deck of the ship from a small boat in waters off Pulau Belitung.PHOTO: TNI-AL

An oil tanker rescued by the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) from an attempted hijacking on Saturday has anchored in the waters off the port city of Surabaya.

All 21 people on board the MV Hai Soon 12, comprising 20 crew members and one Indonesian passenger, are accounted for, Navy spokesman Suradi Agung Slamet told The Straits Times yesterday.

"The navy chased the boat for eight hours, secured it, and detained nine suspects," he said. "They did not put up any protest."

The vessel is registered in Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre.

The ship was carrying 4,000 tons of marine gas oil to sell to fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean but had "deviated from her planned route".

According to ReCAAP, last Saturday, nine perpetrators climbed up the poop deck of Hai Soon 12 from a small boat in waters off Pulau Belitung. The crew were tied up in the mess room.

The passenger and crew, made up of six men from Myanmar, two from South Korea, 11 from China and one from Singapore, were "safe and unharmed", said Colonel Suradi.

He added that the MV Hai Soon 12 disappeared from radar in the Karimata Strait, which is a wide waterway between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

The vessel later resurfaced on the Automatic Identification System, which tracks the positions of ships, and was located some distance away in the waters of Tanjung Puting in South Kalimantan under the name "KM Aiso".

Another spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Maman Sulaeman, said the nine Indonesian suspects "have confessed to stealing oil" and investigations are ongoing.

Last week, officials from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines met in Yogyakarta and agreed to launch coordinated patrols and set up crisis centres in their respective countries to better respond to emergencies in piracy-prone areas in the Sulu and Sulawesi seas.

The meeting was called after a string of kidnappings in the waters off the southern Philippines, with the kidnappers believed to be from the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.


Correction note: A previous version of the article stated that Kiribati is an islet in Cook Islands. This is incorrect. Kiribati is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesian navy rescues 21 on hijacked oil tanker, 9 detained'. Print Edition | Subscribe