The owner of the Malaysian-flagged, 742 gt chemical tanker lost contact with the vessel at around 2200hrs on 28 January. According to ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre the last known position of the vessel was about 1nm south of Tanjung Ayam, Malaysia at 0032hrs on 29 January.
The owner of the vessel feared it had been hijacked. The Sun Birdie was carrying a cargo of 700 tonnes of marine fuel oil (MFO) and had crew of 11 onboard comprising eight Myanmar nationals and three Indonesians.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Royal Malaysian Navy deployed vessels to search for the missing tanker.
The MMEA recovered the Sun Birdie at 2253hrs on 29 January at 17.63nm northeast of Tanjung Penawar.
“The MMEA detained the ship’s crew and seven perpetrators found onboard Sun Birdie. The MMEA brought the vessel to Penggerang for further investigation. Another two perpetrators jumped overboard and fled,” ReCAAP said.
The two, who jumped overboard were later picked up by a passing vessel the Challenger Premier.
There was a sharp rise in the number of hijackings of small tankers in Southeast Asian waters in 2014, with the hijackers siphoning off the cargo.