MMEA to investigate if 8 Indonesians linked to MT Orkim Harmony hijack

19 Jun 2015 / 19:22 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The authorities are investigating if the eight Indonesians arrested by Vietnamese authorities are linked to the hijacking of MT Orkim Harmony, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said today.
MMEA Deputy Director-General (Operations) Vice Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said that the eight Indonesians were arrested by the Vietnam Border Guard near Tho Chu Island, south of Vietnam at about 6.20am this morning.
"It is believed that they were escaping in a yellow lifeboat from the Royal Malaysian Navy and MMEA ships and aircrafts," he said.
He added that the suspects are now in the custody of the local authorities in Tho Chu Island.
"The MMEA is cooperating with the Vietnamese government through the Attorney-General's office and the Foreign Affairs Ministry for them to be brought to the country for further investigations," he told a press conference here.
Ahmad Puzi said that the MMEA will investigate the hijacking of the oil tanker, the suspects escape from the enforcement agencies, and the syndicate and mastermind behind the heist.
"The agency will carry out forensic investigations to ensure that those involved will not escape the arm of the law," he said.
He added that the MMEA will take over investigations into the case once the oil tanker reaches the Kuantan Port at about 2am tomorrow.
"It is believed that the oil tanker was hijacked for the 6,000 metric tonne of RON95 petrol worth RM21 million that it was carrying," he said.
Ahmad Puzi said that negotiations carried out with the pirates onboard the ship was done with the safety of the passengers in mind.
"The negotiations were successful. If not, imagine if the ship was blown up?" he said.
He also did not want to reveal too much into the case, cautioning that it could compromise the investigations.
Earlier, it was reported that all the 22 crew onboard MT Orkim Harmony were freed at about 2.30am today, with one crew member shot in the leg, and currently being treated at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kubang Kerian.
The ship was reported missing at 8.57pm last Thursday while on its way to the Kuantan Port from Malacca.

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