Royal Malaysian Navy has recovered the tanker Orkim Harmony after eight of the smugglers abandoned the vessel on a lifeboat at around 8 pm local time yesterday, Malaysia’s Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said.
All 22 crew are reported safe and unharmed except the cook, an Indonesian national, who suffered a gunshot injury to his thigh.
The tanker is being escorted by a RMN ship to Kuantan Port, and is expected to reach the port at around 2 am local time tomorrow.
RMN deployed three ships and two helicopters to search for the fleeing hijackers.
At 06:30 am local time today, the search crews tracked down eight Indonesian nationals on a life boat off the Tho Chu Island in Vietnam. The men are claiming to be fishermen and that their vessel had sunk.
The Malaysia-flagged Orkim Harmony, which had been missing since June 11, was detected yesterday in Cambodian waters repainted and renamed to Kim Harmon.
As World Maritime News reported, Malaysia deployed five aircraft to help the thirteen vessels already searching for the tanker.
MT Orkim Harmony went missing 17 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Aur on June 11. The tanker’s crew members include 16 Indonesians, Malaysians, and Myanmar nationals.
World Maritime News Staff; Images: Super Lynx/Royal Malaysian Navy