Pirates who hijacked a Malaysian oil tanker last week have fled on the ship’s lifeboat after being pursued by a Malaysian navy ship, officials said yesterday.
Malaysian Royal Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar said the eight pirates, believed to be Indonesians, abandoned the MT Orkim Harmony late on Thursday. All 22 crew members were safe, except for an Indonesian cook who was shot in the thigh, Abdul Aziz tweeted.
He said three navy ships and two helicopters are searching for the pirates. The ship is sailing back to Malaysia’s northern port of Kuantan, escorted by a naval ship, he said.
The tanker, carrying 7.5 million liters of gasoline worth 21 million ringgit (US$5.6 million), was headed to Kuantan when communications were lost on June 11. The crew consisted of 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and one Burmese.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency earlier said that the ship was detected in waters off southern Vietnam late on Wednesday and had been repainted black from blue. Abdul Aziz also tweeted pictures of the tanker, showing some letters of the name of the ship painted over to give it a new name, Kim Harmon.
He said the eight pirates were armed with pistols and machetes, and spoke with Indonesian accents.
The maritime agency said the hijacking was believed to be the work of a syndicate targeting vessels for their cargos of fuel. It said this was the fifth theft in waters off southern Malaysia this year.
It was the second tanker hijacked this month. Another Malaysian tanker carrying diesel fuel was hijacked on June 4 in the same area and was released after its fuel was siphoned off.
Maritime officials have said it is more difficult to steal gasoline, because it is highly flammable and requires special safety equipment.
The International Maritime Bureau said attacks against small tankers off Southeast Asia’s coasts have been rising since last year.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable