INDONESIA - The theft of valuable objects salvaged from sunken vessels (BMKT) has occurred again in Riau Islands' waters, with the Indonesian Navy arresting 10 divers allegedly trying to steal the precious objects recently.
Five of the divers were Vietnamese nationals, while five others were Indonesian.
Western Fleet Maritime Security Task Force (Guskamla) chief Cmdr. Harjo Susmoro told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that the group of people was nabbed by officers of the naval ship KRI Kala Hitam during a routine patrol on Tuesday evening in Karang Haliputan waters, Tanjung Pinang.
They allegedly used a motor boat to transport the precious items. Harjo said three of the Vietnamese divers were suffering from decompression sickness when they were intercepted by naval officers. They were later rushed to Tanjung Pinang Naval Hospital.
In the past year, Harjo said, the Navy had nabbed three groups of people who were trying to steal sunken objects in the area.
"Most of them pretended to be fishermen and most were Vietnamese nationals who worked hand-in-hand with Indonesians. The Vietnamese usually dive underwater to check the location of the shipwreck," Harjo added.