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Global link to tanker hijack

Friday June 17, 2005

Global link to tanker hijack

BY SIRA HABIBU

LANGKAWI: Police believe an international syndicate is involved in the recent hijacking of an oil tanker carrying RM12mil worth of diesel. 

Acting Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan said it would have been impossible to sell the 30,000 barrels of diesel without an international link. 

WELL DONE: The crew of marine gunboat PZ15 carrying DSP Abdul Salam in celebration after they received certificates of appreciation at the Langkawi marine police base yesterday.
“This hijacking was well planned. We have arrested two crewmen whom we believe to be working with the pirates.  

“We are not dismissing the possibility that more crew members could be involved,” he said here yesterday. 

He was commenting on the Tuesday incident where a group of armed pirates, believed to be from Aceh, hijacked the Malaysian-registered MT Nepline Delima. 

On Wednesday a 35-year-old crewman was arrested and remanded for 12-days along with the 10 Indonesian pirates.  

The other crewman was arrested for suspicion of involvement in the hijacking on Wednesday evening. 

The 22-year-old Indonesian, was remanded for 11 days by magistrate Norina Zainal Abidin at the Langkawi district police office at 3.30pm yesterday. 

The pirates surrendered after a 12-hour drama. Their capture was brought about by the tanker's bosun, who dived into the sea, stole their speedboat and returned with five police patrol boats, including a PZ15 gunboat. 

It is learnt that the pirates had valid international passports. 

Musa said close co-operation with authorities in the neighbouring countries was crucial to fighting piracy. 

“It's important for us to have joint patrolling activities to keep the waters in the region safe,” he said.  

He noted that there had been eight reported cases this year, compared with 12 last year. 

“In many countries, between 20 and 30 pirate attacks are recorded in a year,” he said. 

Musa said although piracy in the Straits of Malacca was not very high, the authorities were still viewing the matter seriously.  

“We do not want our waters to be considered unsafe, as this will be bad for business,” he said.  

Kedah CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Mohamed Supian Amat urged boat operators to immediately contact the Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre if they were facing any trouble. 

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