Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) detained an Iran-flagged supertanker for alleged illegal oil transshipment and oil dumping in Indonesian and Malaysian waters.

Bakamla's Chief Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia said the agency found that the tanker ship has manipulated the automatic identification system (AIS) while sailing in Indonesian waters.

The Iran-flagged vessel, identified as MT Arman 114, has currently been detained in Batam, Riau Islands.

"This is something new ... the ship turns on its AIS and transmits its location in the Red Sea despite its actual location being within our EEZ. It is a case of manipulation, a deception. It is also something new for us," Kurnia informed at a press conference here on Tuesday.

He informed that Indonesian regulations require ships sailing in the nation's waters to activate their AIS to allow their monitoring by the authority.

The Iranian supertanker was seized on July 7, after it was caught conducting illegal trans-shipment with another foreign supertanker, MT S Tinos, and dumping oil in Indonesian and Malaysian waters.

While MT Arman 114 was successfully seized with the assistance of Malaysian authorities, MT S Tinos, which, Kurnia said, is Cameroon-flagged, escaped.

He added that MT S Tinos was supposed to have been scrapped in 2018.

"The two ships are Iran- and Cameroon-flagged, and their crews originated from Egypt, Syria, and Ukraine," he said.

As MT Arman 114 is suspected of having also committed other violations, Kurnia informed that he has decided to coordinate with other agencies, such as the police, the navy, and government ministries, to ensure firm sanctions against the ship.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, has also been notified of the incident, he added.

While affirming that Bakamla will continue to probe the incident, Kurnia emphasized that the authority has various apparatus for detecting AIS manipulation by foreign ships.

"If they (foreign ships) attempt to manipulate their AIS, we can see them through satellite and aerial observation because visual evidence is hard to be deceived. We also have several (monitoring) layers," he said.

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Translator: Genta Tenri M, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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