A product tanker carrying 900,000 liters of diesel, initially believed to be hijacked off the coast of Malaysia, could have fled to international waters due to a commercial dispute, local media reported Adon Shalan, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (MMEA) Rear Admiral, as saying.
Adon said that the tanker, MT Vier Harmoni, left Malaysian waters without paying a bond to the country’s authorities. The vessels are obliged to pay the bond to ensure their accountability in case of incidents in Malaysian waters.
The tanker left Kuantan Port and was en route to Indonesia when it was reported missing on August 16, 2016, at 5 p.m. local time, MMEA said.
MMEA deployed assets including a helicopter to search the area off east Johor. The search was called off after the vessel was located near Batam with the help of Indonesian authorities.
Adon said that the vessel might have ”disappeared” due to a financial dispute within the company, adding that the attempts to contact the vessel were unsuccessful and that the ship’s captain is believed to have turned off the vessel’s tracking system.
The ship, carrying cargo worth around USD 390,000, is reportedly still in the waters off Kuantan, Batam.
World Maritime News Staff