'Ghost' ship seized at busy shipping lane in Johor waters

Blocking traffic: The vessel that was anchored south of Tanjung Penyusop, Kota Tinggi.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KOTA TINGGI, Malaysia - The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained a Vietnamese-registered "ghost" ship, with only one crew member on board, for illegally anchoring at a busy shipping lane in Tanjung Penyusop waters here.

Johor MMEA director First Admiral Aminuddin Abdul Rashid said the vessel was spotted some 4.6 nautical miles south of Tanjung Penyusop here at about 9am yesterday.

Aminuddin said the Johor Port Authority and Marine Department had no records on the mysterious vessel or its owners.

The Marine Department, he said, also issued a notice to inform other ships about the anchored vessel to prevent collisions.

He said MMEA had attempted but failed to contact the vessel via radio and a hailer before a team was deployed to check the ship.

"When my men boarded the vessel, they found a 61-year-old Vietnamese national who claimed to be the vessel chief engineer.

"The man claimed that the vessel had drifted from its original anchored location while its captain and its crewmen had returned to their respective countries and their replacements were expected to board the ship next week, " he said in a statement.

Aminuddin said MMEA removed the ship and the case was being investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.