Tanker hijackers extradited to Malaysia

Eight Indonesians suspected of hijacking the Malaysian product tanker  Orkim Harmony have been extradited to Malaysia by a court in Vietnam, reports say.

The suspects have 15 days to appeal the extradition ruling. The court denied an extradition request from Indonesian authorities, according to Vietnam’s VnExpress newspaper.

The eight suspects were arrested by Vietnamese authorities near Tho Chu Island off Vietnam’s southern coast in June last year. They were on a lifeboat and claimed that their fishing vessel sank, but later admitted they had hijacked the tanker.

In December, Indonesian police in Batam captured Heintje Lango, thought to be one of the main conspirators behind the hijacking.

Orkim Harmony was carrying 6,000 tonnes of gasoline worth RM21m ($5.7m) for Petronas, and was en route to Kuantan in Malaysia when communication was lost in June 2015.

Some 13 Indonesian armed robbers are thought to have hijacked the vessel, armed with pistols and machetes. Eight remained on board while the five others returned to Indonesia on their own boat.

One seafarer was reportedly injured by a gunshot wound to the thigh from a shot fired by the hijackers.

On Sunday, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said he will allow Indonesian maritime authorities to enter Philippine waters when chasing pirates and “go ahead and blast them off”.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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