KUALA LUMPUR: The hijackers of MT Orkim Harmony have reportedly changed course to the east heading for Natuna Island, Indonesia, in an attempt to escape.
Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) commander of marine region 1, Rear Admiral Datuk Azhari Abdul Rashid said the hijackers want authorities to provide a boat when they reach the island.
"The talks are still ongoing. On arrival at Natuna Island, they (hijackers) request for a boat for them to escape. The Royal Malaysian Navy is still following the tanker.
"The tanker is expected to reach the island on Saturday morning.
The RMN has informed the Indonesia maritime authorities on the matter," he said when contacted by Bernama, Thursday evening.
RMN's vessel KD Terengganu is continuing negotiations to get the hijackers to surrender.
A total of 16 vessels and four aircraft with 1,200 officers and men are involved in the search and rescue operation.
The RMN was also waiting for orders from the National Security Council over efforts to rescue the crew consisting of 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar national, who were being held captive by at least eight hijackers armed with pistols and parang.
The tanker - owned by Magna Meridian Sdn Bhd and carrying 6,000 tonnes of petrol worth RM21mil - had been reported missing since June 11 while on its way from Malacca to Kuantan Port, Pahang.
Authorities confirmed that MT Orkim Harmony has been repainted and renamed 'Kim Harmon'. - Bernama