Two foreign ships escape from MMEA custody, detained in Indonesia


JAKARTA: Two foreign tankers, which had escaped the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detention two days ago, were held in Indonesian waters by its National Army Navy (TNI AL) yesterday.

Online media quoted Indonesian Navy Western Region Fleet Commander rear admiral Aan Kurnia as saying that they had detained two ships sought by the Malaysian authorities in the waters of Tanjung Uma, Batam, Riau Islands in Sumatra.

Both ships with all the crew reportedly escaped from detention two days ago after the MMEA nabbed them south of Tanjung Penyusop, Teluk Rumania, Kota Tinggi in Johor for entering the Malaysian waters without permission.

Aan Kurnia said the ships; known as MT Brama Ocean and MT Orca, displaying the Malabo flag (the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa) and the Fijian flag respectively on their ships, were detained in a special operation after receiving the MMEA alert.

"We received a report from MMEA on the possibility of the ships entering Indonesian waters and our TNI AL special force acted fast in carrying out patrols in several areas and found two ships in suspicious circumstances before detaining the vessels and six crew," he said.

Initial investigations showed that the vessels fitted the description of the ships that had escaped from MMEA and that they had tried to evade the authorities by changing the colour of the ships, he said.

Aan Kurnia said the two ships with six crew members were being held at the jetty in Yos Sudarso, Main Naval Base IV in Tanjung Pinang for further investigations.

He said the crew would be prosecuted for entering Indonesian waters without valid documents.

Five days ago, MMEA detained two foreign ships in the south of Tanjung Penyusop, for anchoring without permission and on further examination found the tankers also had no insurance. However, the ships managed to escape after being held for three days. - BERNAMA