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MT Orkim Harmony: Indonesian Navy Agrees To Join Hunt For Hijackers

KUALA LUMPUR: The Indonesian Navy has agreed to assist in hunting down the hijackers of the tanker, MT Orkim Harmony, who have escaped to the waters of Natuna Islands, located between Malaysia and Indonesia (Kalimantan).

Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said this was stated by the Indonesian Navy’s chief of staff, Admiral Ade Supandi through a phone conversation and SMS text early Friday morning.

In a statement issued here, Abdul Aziz said the eight hijackers had fled the tanker about 8.30pm Thursday, using a rescue boat.

So far, besides the Malaysian government, also assisting in the hunt for the hijackers is the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) which will be using its P-3C Orion aircraft.

Abdul Aziz said the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) would be deploying its C-130 Hercules aircraft and B200T-Beechcraft for the operation.

The RMN, meanwhile, is sending out its vessels, KD Pahang, KD Terengganu and KD Jebat together with two Super Lynx and Fennec helicopters.

Abdul Aziz said RMN was also asking for the Vietnamese Navy’s assistance as well as the Thai Navy’s in the operation.

He said while all the hijacked tanker’s crew were confirmed to be safe except for a cook, its load of 6,000 tonnes of RON95 petrol was also confirmed to be not stolen by the fleeing hijackers.

All 22 crew members of MT Orkim Harmony were released about 2.30am today.

The oil tanker is now on its way to Kuantan Port, Pahang, escorted by KD Handalan, and expected to arrive at the port at 2am tomorrow.

MT Orkim Harmony which was ferrying the 6,000 tonnes of petrol worth RM21 million, reportedly went missing at 8.57pm on June 11 while on its way from Melaka to Kuantan Port.

The tanker owned by Magna Meridian Sdn Bhd, was carrying 22 crew members comprising 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and one Myanmar national.

— BERNAMA

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