Two aircraft from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), two from the Royal Malaysian Air Force and one from the Royal Malaysian Navy started scanning the South China Sea yesterday, significantly increasing the search area.
The expanded search areas include the Malacca Strait, as well as the waters around Sabak and Sarawak, an MMEA official said.
No ransom demand for the 22 crew aboard the ship at the time of suspected hijacking had been made.
Satumarin Sdn Bhd Special Projects Director, Captain Ahmad Imran Mohd Azmi pointed to the possibility of the suspected hijacking being ”an inside job.”
”There’s a chance that the disappearance was carried out by an accomplice who had access to inside information, conspiring with the pirates by exposing the location and position of the tanker,” Azmi told Malaysian Digest.
MT Orkim Harmony went missing 17 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Aur on June 11. The tanker was carrying 6,000 metric tonnes of ULG 95 petrol at the time.
This was the second pirate attack targeting Orkim vessels off Pulau Aur this month.
Orkim Harmony’s sister vessel, Orkim Victory was siphoned off 770 metric tonnes of Automotive Diesel Oil on June 4, approximately 15.2 nm southwest of Pulau Aur.
World Maritime News Staff