The missing barge, Hub 18, has been located by a fishing boat on Sunday, June 22, representatives of Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) announced.
The barge was drifting with 11 crew on board, around 100nm NW of Kota Kinabalu. The eleven crew members are believed to be the crew of tug Manyplus 12 which remains missing.
The Manyplus 12 and barge Hub 18, carrying 138 containers onboard were heading for Port Klang from Sibu, Malaysia but failed to reach their destination on June 13th.
The owner said he was last in contact with the tug’s master on 9th Jun, when the vessels were approximately 61nm west of Tanjung Datu, Malalysia.
Concerns were raised that the vessels may have been taken by pirates, as the hijacking and stealing of shipborne goods pose considerable threats to shippers in the region. However, there is no information regarding the fate of Manyplus 12 or its cargo.
It is presumed that both vessels were hijacked, although there has been no official confirmation of the claim, Neptune Maritime Security writes. If proven true, this would be the first time pirates targeted a tug and barge loaded with containers. Shipping companies are urged to make sure security measures are in place onboard their vessels.
Press Release, June 24, 2014, Image: Flickr (copyright@Maasmondmaritime)