PUTRAJAYA: The Natuna and Anambas Islands off Indonesia are the best bet to find the missing oil tanker, MT Orkim Harmony, loaded with 7.5 million litres of RON95 fuel.
“Based on the speed it was going, as of now it would be in Vietnam waters if it was going north. If it was going east, it would be in Kota Kinabalu waters this afternoon.
“But until now, we have not been able to track the tanker in Sabah or Sarawak waters so there is a big possibility it is still in the South China Sea and in nearby areas,” Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director-general Datuk Mohd Puzi Ab Kahar said told reporters.
“The biggest possibility is that the ship is nearby, the Natuna and Anambas Islands,” he added.
Ahmad Puzi said the Indonesian authorities had been informed so as to allow clearance for Malaysian vessels to enter their waters to conduct the search.
â€ŽHe said the case was one of piracy. “We believe that it was for economic gains,” he said adding that the tanker was adding carrying fuel worth RM21mil.
Responding to questions on whether the ship’s 22 member crew were taken hostage, Ahmad Puzi said that no ransom demands were made as of yesterday.â€Ž
The tanker became uncontactable some 31.5km (17 nautical miles) off Pulau Aur since 8.54pm last Thursday.
MT Orkim Harmony was sailing from Malacca to Kuantan when it disappeared. The MMEA received a report from the shipping company about the missing tanker at 6.30am last Friday.