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Jakarta Post

Australian man found stranded in Sumatra waters after pirates attack yacht

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 9, 2020   /   02:32 pm
Australian man found stranded in Sumatra waters after pirates attack yacht Wooden boats allegedly used by suspected pirates who were arrested by the Indonesian Navy's Western Fleet Quick Response Unit (WFQR) in the Singapore Strait on Oct. 1, 2017. (Courtesy of Indonesian Navy Region IV/file)

Austrialan man Tadeusz Nowicki has been rescued from Lampung waters after his yacht was robbed.

The pirates took the yacht’s essential equipment, including the steering wheel. 

The yacht was towed by fishing boat KM Ralif Jaya, which was escorted by the Lampung water and air police unit (Polairud) as well as the Tulang Bawang police, to Jakarta on Saturday.

“After we received approval from the [Lampung] harbormaster, the Foreign Ministry and the Australian Embassy, we moved the yacht to Jakarta,” said Lampung Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Zahwani Pandra Arsyad as quoted by kompas.com on Saturday. 

“The Lampung Polairud and Tulang Bawang police escorted [the towing boat] throughout the trip,” he added. 

Nowicky, 70, was sailing alone on his yacht named Hoopla when he was reportedly robbed by pirates in the bordering waters of Ogan Komering Ilir in South Sumatra and Tulang Bawang in Lampung on May 25.

He stopped in Batam, Riau Islands before the incident took place. 

The Australian, who set sail from his homeland for Jakarta on May 22 to sell the yacht, lost possessions including the yacht’s navigation and starter tools as well as steering wheel, a mobile phone, fuel, food stock, kitchen equipment, an ATM card and S$700 in cash in the robbery.

Zahwani said security officers received a notification from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) after Nowicky pressed the Emergency Position Indicating Reported Beacon (EPIRB) button. The feature is meant to be used for shipwreck or water incidents.

“It was probably [out of reflex] that [Nowicky] pushed the button,” he said.

According to Zahwani, the IMO forwarded the information to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, which later notified the police.

“After receiving the notification, the Lampung Polairud immediately went to the location with patrol boat 2001,” he added.

Nowicki, a former professional tennis player, was found starving. He had survived three days on his yacht, which was blindly floating around the shore of Kuala Teladas in Lampung for three days after the robbery, before the police located him.

The police said they gave Tadeusz food and kitchen equipment. However, due to COVID-19 protocol, Tadeusz was forbidden to leave his yacht. 

The police have been investigating the robbery and raided six houses in Sungai Sibur village in Ogan Komering Ilir, which allegedly belong to the perpetrators. However, the police found the houses empty and the suspects remain fugitives.

"We are still investigating the case and chasing the suspects," said Zahwani. (trn)