Malaysian navy chief: Crew of missing MT Orkim Harmony tanker safe

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - All crew of the missing MT Orkim Harmony detected in Cambodian waters today are safe and hijackers on board are being persuaded to surrender, said Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.

In his Twitter account on Thursday, Mr Abdul Aziz said they promised the suspects that they would not be harmed by authorities.

"MT Orkim Harmony: KD Terengganu is shadowing the vessel and is in communication with the Vessel's captain. All crew are safe and unharmed," he tweeted.

The oil tanker was hijacked off the south-east coast of Malaysia last week. Local media on Thursday reported the tanker has been detected in Cambodian waters.

When contacted, Mr Abdul Aziz confirmed that the vessel had been detected, bearing a new coat of pain and a new name.

"We are currently monitoring and shadowing the ship. We will wait for the opportune moment to retake the ship," he said.

He added that the next course of action was currently being discussed.

"We have to get the consent of the owner and we also have to take the necessary precautions. Whatever it is, we are prepared," he said.

The tanker, which was carrying 5,000 tonnes of RON95 fuel belonging to Petronas worth RM21m, left Malacca on Thursday and was to arrive at Kuantan Port at 10.30am the next day, but communication was lost at about 8.54pm.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) was notified almost 10 hours later at 6.30am the next day that it had gone missing.