Indonesians arrest man behind Malaysian oil tanker hijacking

Indonesians arrest man behind Malaysian oil tanker hijacking
PHOTO: NSTP

JAKARTA - The alleged mastermind behind the hijacking of Malaysian oil tanker MT Orkim Harmony in June has been arrested.

The man, identified as Albert Yohanes was arrested by the Indonesian Navy at an apartment in Grogol Petamburan, West Jakarta.

However, it has not been confirmed whether he would be tried in Indonesia or extradited to Malaysia.

Navy spokesman Col M. Zainudin said Yohanes was picked up by its Western Fleet Quick Response IV team on Thursday.

The suspect is in the custody of the Navy Military Police in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, where he is undergoing questioning.

"He did not resist when he was arrested. It seems that he was aware that we had been tracking him for a while," Col Zainudin said.

He said Yohanes would be handed over to the police for further investigations, while other suspects in the case were under the watch of the Vietnamese authorities.

In June, eight men were detained after being stranded on Vietnam's southwestern Tho Chu Island, on the same day Malaysian law enforcers reported that pirates had hijacked the MT Orkim Harmony.

The suspects were identified as Indonesians by officials from the Indonesian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City and the Indonesian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry dispatched an identification team after media quoted Malaysian navy chief Adm Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar as saying that the eight hijackers spoke with an Indonesian accent.

The MT Orkim Harmony was reported missing on June 12 after leaving Malacca for Kuantan. It was carrying 6,000 tonnes of RON 95 fuel, worth an estimated US$5.6mil (S$7.9 mil), belonging to Petronas.

In the search for the missing tanker, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Royal Malaysian Navy requested assistance from the Indonesian Navy, to which the Western Fleet responded by deploying six warships and one Navy aircraft to lead patrols in Indonesian territorial waters.

The tanker was manned by a crew of 22, consisting of 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and one Myanmar citizen. All 22 were safe but the tanker's cook, an Indonesian, was shot in the thigh.

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