By Jite Eriabie
Malaysian authorities have come down hard on a gang that used the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to hijack a Thai-flagged tanker earlier this month.
Local reports said the mastermind behind the hijacking was given 16 years in jail for conspiracy to hijack while the 10 other Indonesians that were actually caught onboard in the hijack attempt were also jailed for 16 years each after they admitted to their crimes. Six of the pirates were also sentenced to five strokes of the cane.
Three others are still at large.
The court heard Heinrick Piterson Parera booked into a hotel in Larkin, Johor, prior to the crime, and from there, monitored the online Marine Traffic system and used the Ship Finder app to plot the movements of the targeted ship, tanker MGT-1.
The coastal products tanker was hijacked off the coast of Terengganu in the first week of September but the hijacking was foiled after a fisherman alerted the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency when he saw several people boarding the vessel.
Reportedly armed with knives, swords and machetes, they also robbed the 14 crew aboard the tanker that belonged to Marine Global Transport. One crewman was injured in the incident.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.