Found: Two boats stolen from Indonesian shipyard

The Indonesian shipyard where the dramatic robbery occurred last Sunday. The barge and the tugboat that were stolen were at the centre of payment disputes between BH Marine, which owns the shipyard, and its client PT Andalan.
The Indonesian shipyard where the dramatic robbery occurred last Sunday. The barge and the tugboat that were stolen were at the centre of payment disputes between BH Marine, which owns the shipyard, and its client PT Andalan.ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN

A barge and tugboat have been recovered after they were stolen from an Indonesian shipyard owned by a Singapore-linked company.

A lawyer for BH Marine and Offshore Engineering said the vessels were with Batam Marine Police at a pier in Sekupang yesterday.

He declined to comment about when and how the boats were recovered. The Sunday Times understands the company is expecting updates this week.

BH Marine and Offshore Engineering is a subsidiary of BH Global Corporation, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange.

The drama unfolded last Sunday night, when a mob of up to 100 people "forcefully removed" the vessels, said BH Global in a Singapore Exchange bulletin.

Shipyard staff, security guards and local police had tried to stop the group after being alerted to the commotion.

According to local media reports, the mob boarded the vessels on wooden boats.

By the time reinforcements arrived, the barge - a flat-bottomed boat used to transport cargo - and the tugboat had made it into open water.

When The Sunday Times visited the shipyard yesterday, there was little indication of the drama.

The wide dirt road leading to the shipyard was quiet, and its security gate was manned by a handful of employees.

At the end of the shipyard itself, a barge was berthed next to where the stolen barge was last seen.

Two security officers were stationed at a small security post which overlooked where the stolen vessels had stood.

The foreman on duty declined to answer The Sunday Times' questions and said that the robbery is still under police investigation.

Few shipyard workers were around as they worked only half a day on Saturdays, he explained. He added that none of the employees present during the night-time robbery was around.

The two vessels are at the centre of payment disputes between BH Marine and its client, PT Andalan Mitra Bahari.

BH Marine is owed $365,000 for completing repair works for PT Andalan on one of the stolen boats.

The other vessel, constructed by BH Marine, was to have been sold to PT Andalan at an agreed price of $2 million. However, only $400,000 has been paid to BH Marine to date, with the remaining $1.6 million still outstanding.

Police in Batam did not respond to queries by press time.