The Jakarta Post
Malaysian authorities will investigate one of the Indonesian-flagged vessels, 10 crewmembers of which are currently being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines, which has been found abandoned in Malaysian waters.
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said the Anand 12 barge was found in the waters off Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia on Monday.
The barge has been moved to the Fordesko Lahad Datu Port to be examined by a forensic team from the Malaysian Maritime Force Agency (APKNM), she said. Forensic investigations will take approximately seven to10 days, added Retno.
"According to preliminary information, the contents of the barge are still wholly intact," Retno said when addressing journalists on Tuesday.
Retno said she had opened communications with the Malaysian Foreign Minister Sri Anifah Aman since Mar. 31. The Malaysian government has also expressed its readiness to cooperate in anticipation of any changes to the situation that could require further cooperation between both countries, she added.
Indonesia has also intensified communications and coordination with various parties, including among others government institutions, the Philippine government and family members of the hostages, leading up to the deadline that has been given for the ransom of the 10 Indonesian crewmen held hostage by the terrorist group, Retno added.
Retno said the ministry had appointed two officials as liaison officers for direct communications with family members of the hostages.
Two Indonesian-flagged vessels, the Brahma 12 and Anand 12, were hijacked by Abu Sayyaf militants in Philippines waters. Tugboat Brahma 12 has been handed over to Philippine authorities. The Abu Sayyaf militant group had contacted the owner of the vessel and demanded a ransom of US$1.08 million by Apr. 8. (bbn)
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