MARITIME DISPUTES

Missing for one week, Indonesia finally finds ship ‘hijacked’ by crew upset over bonus payments

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 3:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 3:07pm

Indonesia’s navy said on Thursday it has located a fuel tanker that was missing for a week after being taken from port by its disgruntled crew.

The navy said in a statement that the MT Vier Harmoni with 10 Indonesian crewmen was found off West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo.

The 53-metre long coastal tanker is being escorted to Tanjung Pinang, the provincial capital of Indonesia’s Riau islands, for further investigation.

Vier Abdul Jamal, chief executive of the ship’s owner Vierlines Asia Group, said there was a dispute between the charterer of the vessel and the crew when a promise of bonus payments was unfulfilled.

The tanker disappeared from a port in southern Malaysia on August 16 and authorities there initially suspected it had been hijacked by pirates. Its tracking device had been turned off.

The navy said it deployed warships, a maritime patrol plane and a helicopter to find the tanker, which was carrying about 900,000 litres of diesel.