Police investigate hijacking

Jakarta: North Sulawesi Police are looking into the hijacking of a ship transporting 700 kiloliters of diesel while sailing from Bitung, North Sulawesi, to Halmahera, North Maluku. It was the second hijacking in the space of a week in Southeast Asia.

The tanker Rehobot departed Bitung Port on January 28 in the evening with a cargo of subsidized diesel for the mining company PT Nusa Halmahera, operating in Halmahera.

The vessel was taken over by pirates around two hours later in the vicinity of Lembeh and Dua islands, in North Sulawesi. The ship’s captain Ridwan Balaati, 43, and the 14 members of his crew were sent off in a life raft.

The crew were later found by fishermen and picked up by water police.

“A team has been deployed to investigate the pirate attack. We remain unclear as to the identity of the perpetrators,” a police spokesperson told The Jakarta Post.

North Sulawesi Water Police vice director Adj. Sr. Comr. Endang Kurnadi said his unit would intensify patrols in piracy-prone areas, including the location of the hijacking. “We will beef up patrols especially in crime-prone areas,” said Kurnadi.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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