LABUAN: The hunt is on for pirates that hijacked a ship off Bintulu in Sarawak waters on Saturday to steal its diesel.
The Malaysian Enforcement Maritime Agency Labuan Enforcement Chief Captain Che Adnan Mohd Isa said investigations were being carried out by Bintulu MMEA investigating officers to determine the identify the group.
‚ÄúThis incident happened in waters off Bintulu and that is why they are the ones in charge of investigating,‚Äù he said, adding that MT Budi Mesra Dua, which had been sailing from Singapore to Labuan, was hijacked for about 10 hours on Saturday.
He said initial investigations showed that six masked men in dark green overalls, armed with parangs and hammers, had climbed onboard the ship at about 11.30pm on Saturday, tied up the crew and confined them in a room.
Capt. Adnan said the men then ordered the ship‚Äôs captain and its chief officer to stop the engine as a vessel approached and pulled up beside it.
‚ÄúThey pumped out a total of 100 metric tonnes of diesel from the ship to the vessel,‚Äù he said.
It is understood that the masked men also ransacked the ship and made off with valuables after turning off the radar and navigation equipment on board.
Capt. Adnan said none of the crew ‚Äì comprising 18 Malaysians, three Indonesians, two Bangladeshis, one Indian and a Filipino ‚Äì were harmed in the incident.
‚ÄúThey were allowed to sail to Labuan after being held captive for 10 hours,‚Äù he said.
The case is being investigated under the Section 395 of the Penal Code for gang robbery.