Hijacked trawler, barge found off Bintulu Port


KUCHING: A trawler and a barge, said to be on their way to Port Klang from Tawau, Sabah, were reported to have been hijacked about 62 nautical miles off the Bintulu Port, at about 8.30pm on Tuesday.

However, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Maritime Capt Aminuddin Abdul Rashid, who is also Maritime Director of Bintulu District 12, said the trawler, Ever Ocean Silk, and barge, Ever Giant, were found at 3.24pm yesterday by the agency’s maritime ship, KM Jepak, about 30 nautical miles off Bintulu Port.

“All 10 crew members are safe and unharmed, but they are still traumatised by the incident,” he said in a statement here today.

Aminuddin said the trawler and barge were hijacked by a group of robbers armed with machetes who not only took away the communication equipment, but also siphoned the diesel into their boats.

He added that the number of robbers could not be ascertained, though the crew members said they came in two boats.

Aminuddin said two MMEA vessels, KM Jepak and KM Tabah, as well as Bot Penggalang 33, were sent to track the trawler and the barge soon after the agency received a report on the missing vessels.

He said the trawler and barge were reportedly laden with 2,499 tonnes of palm oil worth RM14.99 million.