Piracy in Riau Islands

A tug boat and a fully loaded Olympus 99 oil barge were hijacked by pirates in Nenek Strait, Batam, Riau Islands at 3 a.m. on Monday. Both crews were then marooned on an island.

The hijackers changed names of both boats before they were apprehended by Batam Marine personnel and Riau Islands Water Police 15 hours later.

Commander of Batam Marine Col. Nurhidayat told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the boats were en route to Guntung, Riau, after taking on 150 tons of diesel and 10 tons of premium fuel from Pertamina's depot in Tanjung Uban.

"While the boats were passing through Nenek Strait, another ship with 11 people on board intercepted them, tied up crews of both boats and left them stranded on Tanjung Pelanduk Island before sailing off with the vessels," Nurhidayat said.

Thanks to fishermen on Tanjung Pelanduk Island that the crew was able to inform the fuel agents about the hijacking who in turn informed the authorities.

At 3.30 p.m. the Sea Hunter patrol boat and picked up the seven crew members. The hijacked boats were located at 6 p.m., however by that time some of the fuel on board had already been siphoned off. (iwa)

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