Japan plans to transfer to Tokyo four pirates who attacked an oil tanker off Oman and were captured by US and Turkish forces, so that they can face trial, media reports said yesterday.
The Japanese-owned oil tanker Guanabara was attacked on Saturday in the Indian Ocean about 400 nautical miles (741km) east of Oman, according to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the operator of the tanker registered in the Bahamas.
The pirates were seized by US and Turkish naval units on Sunday. None of the 24 crew, all of whom are non-Japanese, was injured and there was no oil or petroleum product leak from the 52,129 tonne ship, the company said.
The crew of the tanker, which was en route from Ukraine to China, included 18 Filipinos and two nationals each from Croatia, Montenegro and Romania.
Japan now plans to bring in the suspects to face trial, the first time it would make use of a 2009 anti-piracy law, Jiji Press and other media reported.
The suspects would be flown to Japan by a Japan Coast Guard aircraft, where they would be formally arrested and their cases handled by the Tokyo District Court.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano only told a news conference yesterday that Tokyo was “making arrangements” with relevant countries about how to deal with those detained.
Japan’s anti-piracy law stipulates jail terms of between five years and life for serious cases of piracy in international and Japanese territorial waters, regardless of the registration of the targeted ship.
Japan has dispatched two destroyers to the multinational anti-piracy mission, with a combined crew of 420, plus maritime surveillance aircraft.