Mainland security forces were last night accused of hijacking a container ship operated by a Hong Kong company and taking it to an unknown destination. Hong Kong rescue co-ordinators said Guangdong marine authorities had confirmed that they boarded the Indonesian-registered 'MV Asian Friendship' and said it was berthed at Shanwei port, 150 kilometres northeast of the SAR. The 19-man Indonesian crew were said to be 'safe and well'. But last night, the SAR firm which operates the ship, Dongnama Shipping Company, said it was still treating the incident as a hijacking. Its operations manager, Edmond Tse Wai-nin, said: 'The Hong Kong rescue co-ordination centre tell us the ship is in Shanwei but we don't know exactly where. 'Until we do, and until we know why and who boarded it, we still see this as theft or a hijacking. We have heard nothing from the master.' Marine sources say the mainland authorities declined to reveal why they had boarded the ship - bound for Haiphong in Vietnam - or whether the security personnel involved were armed. 'All they said was that they were investigating,' said a source, who described the case as 'sensitive'. Hong Kong's Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre received a distress call from the ship's Indonesian master at 2.20 am yesterday, saying he had been boarded by 20 'unknown persons'. The master said he was in Chinese waters and was being taken somewhere, but communication was lost before he could give a precise location. The 4,200-tonne, 106-metre-long container ship was chartered by Dongnama to carry cars and textiles to Haiphong. It had loaded up and left Hong Kong on its regular route at 11 pm on Thursday. Mr Tse said the company would be seeking details from the authorities in Guangdong this morning. He added: 'As far as we are concerned all the documents and everything else was legal. Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. We just want to know what has happened.' A co-ordination centre spokesman said confirmation of the boarding and information on the vessel's whereabouts were received at 11 am yesterday, but nothing had been heard since.