Attempts to locate the Indonesian flagged tanker Namse Bangdzod missing for a month today, have been unsuccessful to date. Speculation is mounting the vessel, its 12 crew and its cargo of on million litres of crude palm oil have been hijacked.
Namse Bangdzod disappeared en route from Sampit, Central Kalimantan to Jakarta, Java soon after leaving port on 27 December. While last contact with the vessel was on 28 December and it was due in port that day, Marine Traffic recorded signals from its Automatic Identification System database off the coast of Jakarta on 7 January. However a search and rescue mission by Indonesian authorities in the area found no trace.
A Navy spokesperson confirmed to local media the ship’s AIS position had been recorded several times in Jakarta Bay, then the neighbouring Sunda Kelapa fishing port, but the ship was not there.
Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) told local media they believe the vessel had been hijacked and was no longer their responsibility.
The Navy which has also been involved in the search, however disputes this., saying the vessel’s route was considered safe with no history of privacy. There has been no ransom demand made.
An accident is unlikely as the vessel was in calm seas and there was no distress signal.
The vessel is owned by PT Petronusa Niaga Energy and operated by PT Surabaya Shipping Lines.
Port management at Tanjung Perak, Surabaya, told the Java Post they knew of no Surabaya Shipping lines. However Safety at Sea did locate the company and speak to its staff who confirmed they were the agents for the vessel and it was still missing.
The Navy has deployed four warships in the search for the tanker around the Java Sea. A separate search has also been conducted between Surabaya in East Java and the Central Java coastline using maritime patrol aircraft.