KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Bernama) — The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is trying to secure the release of all 22 crew on board a hijacked Malaysian fuel tanker that has been traced to Cambodian waters.
RMN commander of Naval Region 1 Rear Admiral Datuk Azahari Abdul Rashid said the crew of the MT Orkim Harmony, now repainted and renamed Kim Harmon, were safe.
He said the hijackers were demanding that they should not be arrested as a condition for the release of the crew.
The negotiation with the hijackers was being carried out over the radio, he said, adding that the hijackers would not allow the RMN vessel KD Terengganu or vessels of the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) from getting close to the tanker.
The tanker went missing at 8.57 pm on June 11 as it was ferrying 6,000 tonnes of petrol valued at RM21 million from Melaka on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia to Kuantan on the east coast.
Of the 22 crew on board the vessel, owned by Magna Meridian Sdn Bhd, 16 are Malaysian; five, Indonesian and one, a Myanmar.
Azahari said the RMN and MMEA vessels had to be within a radius of five nautical miles (10 kilometres) from the tanker for the sake of the crew’s safety.
“The hijackers have asked that they should not be arrested or injured,” he told BERNAMA.
Azahari said the hijackers had planned to seize the RON95 petrol and sell it to a certain syndicate.