Indonesian Naval forces have arrested the product tanker Vier Harmoni off of West Kalimantan after the vessel was taken hostage by her own crew in a wage dispute.
The Harmoni went missing last week after she departed Kuantan, Malaysia with $400,000 worth of diesel. Media reports initially suggested that she had been hijacked, but the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said in an update the day after her disappearance that she had probably been diverted by her own captain, who told the owner that the ship would be returned to Batam due to an “internal management problem."
"[We were] informed that the ship was safe in Batam,” MMEA chief Datuk Ahmad Puzi Abdul Kahar told local media on August 17. “Initial investigations suggest that the crew members decided to sail the ship to Batam after a dispute between them and their employer.”
Vier Abdul Jamal, CEO of the shipowner Vierlines Asia, told the AP that the dispute was between the crew and the charterer, and had to do with the payment of a bonus.
Indonesian forces found the Harmoni on Wednesday off of Borneo and escorted it to Tanjung Pinang for further investigation, said spokesman Edi Sucipto.
Product tanker hijackings have been a problem in the region for years, but the incidence rate is actually down by half this year, falling to 24 attacks in the first six months of 2016, the IMB says. With the vessel recovered and no pirate involvement, the Harmoni incident will not have an effect on the record.