ReCAAP today announced that the missing barge, Hub 18, has been located.¬†
The barge, with 11 crew on board, was located by a fishing boat on June 22nd at 0812 UTC around 100nm NW of Kota Kinabalu. The barge was adrift and the owners are making arrangements to recover it. The authorities are due to interview the crew to discover what happened. The tug Manyplus 12 is still missing and, although not confirmed by the authorities, its crew of 11 are presumably those rescued from the barge.
At the time of its disappearance on June 9th as it transited to Port Klang, Malaysia, the barge was carrying 138 containers. There is no information available as to what has happened to this cargo or the whereabouts of the Manyplus 12.
It is presumed that both vessels were hijacked, although again, this remains unconfirmed at this time.
While low level maritime crime such as robberies on board and ship’s stores theft remain an ongoing problem in the region, there has been an increase in hijackings in recent weeks, although these have primarily involved small product tankers. The hijacking of a tug and barge with containers is a new twist and shipping companies are advised to double check their security arrangements and ensure that routes are not made public in order to maintain security on board.