Malaysia says missing marine tanker is not 'hijacked'

Missing marine Malaysian tanker Vier Harmoni carrying 900,000 litres of diesel has not been hijacked, only taken over as part of a commercial dispute, Malaysian officials say.

Photo by: MMEA
Photo by: MMEA

Malaysian oil tanker Vier Harmoni

Malaysian officials say Vier Harmoni, a missing oil tanker which was believed to be hijacked, might have been taken over as part of a commercial dispute and taken into Indonesian waters, Malaysian authorities said on Tuesday.

Vier Harmoni, carrying 900,000 litres of diesel, went missing after leaving the Tanjung Pelepas port on the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia on Tuesday before it was relocated in the waters off Batam, Indonesia.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (MMEA) director said in a tweet that the ship, Vier Harmoni, is believed to be located in Indonesia waters. 

Later the director Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said "the initial investigation showed that the ship was rushed because of internal problem," adding that further investigations regarding the incident were underway. 

Reuters reported a Malaysian MMEA spokesman saying that there was no element of terrorism involved in the tanker’s disappearence.

The spokesman said early investigations showed the tanker had been taken due to a disagreement between the ship's management and the crew.

The ship was registered in Batam but was being leased by a Malaysian company, the spokesman said.

The MMEA's southern regional chief Admiral Adon Shalan told The Star newspaper there could have been a financial dispute within the company.

"We tried to contact the ship but it went unanswered," he was quoted as saying on the daily's website. "We believe the ship's captain might have turned off its tracking system as we could not trace it on our radar."

The ship was carrying diesel with an estimated value of $390,000.

TRTWorld and agencies