Pirates may have hijacked ship

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 December, 1998, 12:00am

Pirates may have hijacked a ship carrying a Hong Kong-recruited crew and up to $23 million worth of aluminium.

All 13 crewmen on the Japanese-owned Tenyu cargo ship, which has been missing for more than two months, were recruited in the SAR in summer, the British-based International Maritime Bureau said yesterday.

The vessel, with mainly Indonesians on board, was scheduled to sail from Singapore in October and arrive in South Korea about eight days later.

'But it has been missing since then and pirates may have hijacked it. We are investigating whether it is the same ship as the one that's turned up in Zhangjiang [Guangdong province] in China,' said Jayant Abhyankar, the bureau's London-based deputy director.

Results of an investigation into the ship's disappearance were due out within a week, Mr Abhyankar said.

He said Hong Kong was one of several Southeast Asian ports the bureau had been investigating for 'phantom ships' which use fake documents to hijack cargo.

'Most of the cargo from these phantom ships gets sold through Hong Kong because it is a well-known trading centre,' he said.