PUTRAJAYA — Hours after the pirates fled on a rescue boat from hijacked oil tanker MT Orkim Harmony, Viet Nam said eight Indonesians were detained in its waters near Thổ Chu Island.
Navy chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar confirmed the report from Viet Nam of the arrest of the eight but said his men were confirming if they were the hijackers of the Malaysian tanker.
"They were found near Tho Chu Island at about 6.30am. They were on a life raft and claimed they were from a fishing boat that sank.
"We are checking their story and investigation is still going on," Aziz said.
The eight pirates reportedly fled in the rescue boat at 8.30pm on Thursday.
Before that, they had directed the Navy to move its ships about five nautical miles (nine kilometres) from the MT Orkim Harmony.
"They said if we did not move away they would harm the crew. So we turned our ships around and moved, and while we did that they lowered the boat and fled.
"We did not suspect that they would do that," Aziz told The Star.
The vanishing act was only found out at about 1am Friday when the captain of the seized oil tanker contacted the KD Terengganu.
Aziz said the ship's captain did not inform the Navy immediately after the pirates had escaped after he was threatened that his family would be harmed if he did so. — The Star/ANN