Malaysian marine police seized a ship, believed to have been stolen three years ago, in a nighttime operation that ended with commandos rappelling up its side and detaining 20 Chinese crew members, an official said yesterday.
The police tracked MV Paulijing for 17 hours before boarding the ship off Malaysia's southern Kukup island in the Straits of Malacca before dawn on Tuesday, Marine Police Commander Abdul Rahman Ahmad said.
He said police received information that the vessel, which had passed through the central Malaysian port of Klang on Monday morning, closely resembled cargo ship MV Natris that was hijacked near Indonesia's Batam island in November 2002.
A patrol boat went up to the ship and ordered the vessel to stop, but the captain ignored the command.
Instead of chasing the ship and taking action in the busy waterway, police told officers in Johor, where the ship was headed, to intercept it, he said.
"We could not chase or force them to stop because in that crowded, busy port, that could have endangered other vessels," he said.
"So we laid our plans, flew in our special forces south to Johor and waited for the ship there," he added.
Abdul Rahmad said 45 marine special forces and police commandos in four patrol boats surrounded the ship off Johor at 3:15am on Tuesday, before it could enter the waters of Singapore.
Twelve officers boarded the moving vessel, Abdul Rahman said, adding that the crew had surrendered without a fight, Abdul Rahman said.
The captain and mates, all Chinese nationals aged between 20 and 45 years, were being investigated for the possession of a stolen vessel. Abdul Rahman said authorities are yet to confirm that the ship -- carrying soybeans and vinegar and heading from India to Vietnam -- is the stolen MV Natris, registered in Panama.
"The verification is in progress, it will take a few days to confirm," he said.
The police were tipped off by the International Maritime Bureau, a watchdog that had been monitoring the vessel for nearly six months, said Noel Choong, head of the bureau's piracy watch center in Kuala Lumpur.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and