JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - An Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) patrol boat nabbed two tanker ships that flown the Panamanian and Iranian flags while allegedly transferring illegal fuel in Pontianak waters in West Kalimantan on Sunday, January 24.
“The foreign tanker ships had been detected by Indonesian patrol boat KN Marore-322, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Yuli Eko Prihartanto during Operation Trisula-I/21 to ensure the security and safety in the waters,” said Bakamla chief spokesman Colonel Wisnu Pramandita in a statement on Sunday.
Wisnu further added that the arrest began when KN Marore-322 detected a silent radar contact with an indication that the automatic identification system (AIS) was inactive.
KN Marore-322 then moved closer with a speed of 16 knots. Shortly, at around 6.00 am, KN Marore-322 managed to detect it visually. The two tanker ships were allegedly carrying out illegal fuel transfers.
When approaching the two tankers, officers found that the two ships had purposely covered the hulls with cloths.
“The goal is to trick the Indonesian law enforcement officials,” said Wisnu.
Furthermore, KN Marore-322 contacted the crews through radio to inquire about their presence in Pontianak waters. However, the officers received no response from the two ships. This has caused KN Marore-322 officers to become suspicious.
The commanding officer of KN Marore-322 then contacted Bakamla sea operation director First Admiral Suwito and received orders to carry out an investigation.
Initial investigation revealed that the two tankers were known as Horse and Frea, which had flown the Iranian flag and Panamanian flag, respectively.
“During the initial investigation, the two tankers allegedly violated the right of transit passage, conducted illegal fuel transfers, failed to hoist the national flag, turned the AIS off and the Frea ship carried out oil spills,” said Wisnu.
The two ships were escorted to Batam for further investigation.
(Writer: Achmad Nasrudin Yahya | Editor: Icha Rastika)
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