BATAM (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Indonesian Navy's Western Fleet Quick Response Unit (WFQR) has arrested 15 alleged pirates in the Singapore Strait following a tip-off by Singapore authorities.
The alleged pirates were in six wooden boats when they were arrested.
Naval Base (Lantamal IV) commander Commodore Ribut Eko Suyatno told The Jakarta Post that the arrests were made after Singaporean authorities told them that a barge had been accosted by about 15 unidentified people in Indonesian waters on Sept 30.
The barge was sailing around the Malacca and Singapore straits.
"[THE SUSPECTS] are currently held at the Batam [NAVAL]base," Ribut said.
"Preliminary investigations show that the barge LKH 7887, which was being towed by tugboat Kim Hock Tug 9, had not actually been attacked because the tugboat crew and the 15 alleged pirates had made a deal," he explained.
According to suspects' testimonies, Ribut said they had attempted to take items from the barge, such as steel scraps, cables and 19 gallons of diesel. He added that the tugboat's crew had paid the alleged pirates Rp 15 million (US$1,100) not to take the items.