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Local vessel carrying 3,700t palm oil confirmed hijacked, Singkawang, Indonesia

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in Putrajaya confirmed that a vessel owned by a local company carrying about 3,700 tonnes of palm oil worth about RM18.5 million (USD4.5 million), had been hijacked in the waters somewhere near Singkawang, Indonesia on November 22.

The barge, Ever Omega, along with another tugboat Ever Prosper, were sailing from Bintulu to Penang when it was hijacked by a group of machete-wielding pirates on Wednesday.

According to MMEA, it received the distress call from the crew members of Ever Prosper and informed the Indonesia authorities through the Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) network.

On the Malaysian side, it sought to track down the missing vessel through the Maritime Mobile Service. At the same time, MMEA also sought the corporation from the Indonesian authorities to locate the missing barge.

On Thursday, MMEA was informed that the barge Ever Omega had been found, but the cargo on the ship were believed to be robbed. The case is now being investigated.

When contacted, a spokesman of the company confirmed the incident and revealed that there were six crew members on the Ever Omega barge and four crew members on Ever Prosper tugboat.

“The crew members were tied up and the pirates took off with Ever Omega and left the crew members with Ever Prosper, who managed to free themselves later,” the spokesman told The Borneo Post today.

He added that the crew on the Ever Prosper tugboat then sailed the tugboat towards the waters off southern Johor.

The barge set sail from Bintulu on Nov 18 and was expected to reach Penang on November 26.

Source: Borneo post