PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has started with the process to extradite the eight suspected hijackers of MT Orkim Harmony from Vietnam, said its deputy director-general (operation) Rear Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar.
In a statement issued here today, he said the Vietnamese authority had confirmed that the eight suspects admitted committing the offence.
He said MMEA had so far handled five armed robbery cases, involving 40 accused who were now serving time for committing the offence.
As for the case involving MT Sun Birdie, he said, hearing of the case had started.
“Hence, investigation and prosecution involving robbery at sea is not new to MMEA,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Fuzi urged all quarters against making speculations that could affect investigation of the case.
He said the agency’s forensic officer had started collecting evidence from MT Orkim Harmony and statements were being recorded by the investigating officer from witnesses on the vessel.
He was commenting a newspaper report today which claimed the involvement of an inside man in the case.
In a related development, he said the Master and crew of MT Orkim Harmony were being given counselling to overcome their trauma from the incident by the Armed Forces Hospital and Mercy Malaysia.
MT Orkim Harmony was laden with 6,000 metric tonnes of petrol, worth RM21 million, when it lost communication with base at 8.57 pm last June 11 at Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi, in Johor.
There were 22 crew on board, comprising 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar national.
The vessel was detected the following day, repainted and renamed ‘Kim Harmon’.
All the 22 crew were released at about 2.30 am last Friday and the vessel arrived at Kuantan Port yesterday. – BERNAMA