Ships hijacked at Muara Jungkat, Pontianak

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - A tugboat Mitra Jaya V and a barge Makmur Abadi V had been hijacked 15-20 miles west of the Muara Jungkat buoy in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, at 10 pm to 11 pm on May 29.

Five men boarded the two vessels by tugboat, another boarded the barge, the captain of Mitra Jaya V PS Nainggolan said upon arrival at Makobar port in Batam Thursday night after he was freed in the Tanjungberakit waters, Bintan, Riau islands from the pirates by water police personnel in the small hours of Thursday.

"They pointed their guns and sharp weapons," Nainggolan said recalling what he had undergone four days ago. At that time there were seven crew members on the Mitra Jaya V tugboat and three on Makmur Abadi V barge.

They were Nainggolan (skipper), HJ Bilillah, Mulyadi, M David, Riets, Damian, Rizki, Bastian, Yayan, and Tedi, all Indonesians.

According to Nainggolan, one of the crew members put up a fight against the pirates, and was hurt on his left hand.

After the pirates managed to control the ten crew members they put them onto a room with their hands bound, disabling them to contact the outside world.

"They took all their communication equipment", he said.

But eventually they were freed by water police personnel 14 miles east of Berakit island, Bintan, Riau Islands, on Thursday at 4 am after being held hostage for four days.

"Four shots were heard before the pirates were caught," one of the crew members, Bilallahi, said.

At 7 pm the tugboat Mitra Jaya V and barge Makmur Abadi V arrived at Makobar port, Batam.

All the crew members were taken straight to the water police headquarters in Sekupang, Batam, for investigation.

Earlier at 1 pm, the pirates arrived at Makobar port, Batu Ampar, Batam, under strong escort and brought straight to the Riau Islands water police headquarters in Sekupang for more intensive interrogation.(*)