Indonesian Navy officers seek $516,000 to release detained tanker near Singapore: Sources, Asia News
SINGAPORE — Indonesian navy officers have demanded $375,000 (S$516,000) to release a tanker they detained last week for illegally anchoring in Indonesian waters off Singapore, two people involved in the incident have said. unofficial payment negotiations.
The incident comes after Reuters reported about a dozen similar detentions last year. In these cases, shipowners made unofficial payments of around $300,000 each and vessels held by the Indonesian Navy east of Singapore were released.
The tanker Nord Joy was boarded by armed navy personnel on May 30 while anchored in Indonesian waters east of the Singapore Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, indicated the two security sources.
Asked whether any naval officers had asked for $375,000 to free the Nord Joy, Indonesian navy spokesman Julius Widjojono said: “It is strictly forbidden.” He did not respond to requests for clarification.
He confirmed that navy personnel detained the Nord Joy on suspicion of anchoring in Indonesian waters without a permit, violating Indonesian maritime rights of passage and sailing without a national flag.
“Initial information is that (the case) is still in the initial investigation process at Batam Naval Base,” he said.
Under Indonesian law, anchoring without a permit carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison for the captain of a vessel and a fine of 200 million rupees ($13,840) (S$19,000), said Widjojono.
The Indonesian Navy said in November that there had been an increase in detentions for anchoring without permission, deviation from the shipping route or stopping mid-course for an unreasonable length of time.
The ships were released due to insufficient evidence or the cases were dealt with by Indonesian courts and no payments were made to the navy or its personnel, the navy said.
Batam Naval Base
The Nord Joy is a Panamanian-flagged ship, 183 meters (200 yards) long and capable of carrying up to 350,000 barrels of fuel. Reuters was unable to determine who owns the vessel.
Synergy Group, the Singapore-based company that runs the Nord Joy, did not respond to questions about the Navy personnel’s alleged demand for an unofficial payment.
Synergy told Reuters in a statement that Nord Joy anchored in a position believed to be off Indonesian territorial waters on May 26 and on May 30 the Indonesian Navy boarded the vessel alleging that he was on his territory.
Synergy said it is working with the Navy, local attorneys and agents to resolve the issue.
The Nord Joy was escorted by navy ships to an anchorage near Batam, an island 32 km south of Singapore which hosts a naval base, the two sources told Reuters.
The tanker’s captain was taken to the base and told by naval officers to arrange payment of $375,000 or face months of lost income if the case goes to court, they said. indicated the sources.
The cost of chartering a North Joy-sized refined products tanker from Singapore to China fluctuates regularly. It peaked at $1.12 million a day on May 9 and was $820,000 as of June 8, according to data from ship broker Simpson Spence Young.
The ships have been anchored in waters east of the Singapore Strait for years waiting to dock, believing they are in international waters and therefore not liable for port charges, shipping analysts have said. .
The Indonesian Navy has publicly stated in recent years that much of this area is in its waters and that it intends to crack down on vessels anchored there without permits.