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A Singapore-registered tug boat with nine crew onboard was reported missing while underway in Kuantan waters since last night.
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) here said the tug boat, PU 2007 was towing a barge, PU 3316, when the ship owner discovered the boat had deviated from its planned course about 11.30pm.
The boat had departed Kintap port, South Kalimantan, Indonesia and was heading towards the Gulf of Thailand to Sriracha port to discharge its cargo.
Suspecting that the vessels had been hijacked, the ship owner reported the incident to Singapore’s Port Operation and Control Centre which is also the ReCAAP ISC, which in turn alerted all maritime authorities in the region to look out for the missing vessels.
At 3.25pm today, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) which had deployed its ship and aircraft in the search operations, spotted the barge at east-northeast of Kuantan, minus the tug boat.
The centre had requested vessels transiting through the area to keep a look out for the missing tug boat which was last reported heading easterly towards the direction of Philippines or Kalimantan.
This is the second incident of hijacking of a tug boat in the vicinity since January this year.