Crewless tanker found in South China sea, piracy ring suspected

Galuh Pusaka, a product tanker registered in Indonesia, has been found drifting with navigational lights and engine off in South China Sea. The vessel had neither crew nor cargo, but its galley was well-stocked with fresh provisions.

Galuh Paluka was towed to naval base in Tarempa (Indonesia). The last AIS signal received from the tanker dates back to Sept 24, 2010. The authorities in Indonesia suspect the vessel was used by pirates to siphon and transport stolen oil from hijacked ships. Lt. Col. Agung Jaya Saktika, Tarempa Maritime Authorities, said the tanker had significant damage and a lot of the equipment was missing (communication and navigation). Further investigation has been launched.

The authorities found the Galuh Paluka following a signal for another product tanker, Arsenal, missing. Its owner reported he had lost contact with the vessel on June 17 near Anambas Archipelago (Indonesia) while the Arsenal was en route from Vietnam to Singapore. The authorities in Indonesia launched an operation for searching the area and that was where they came across Galuh Paluka. Since then, MT Arsenal has contacted its owner.

Galuh Pusaka (IMO number 7511060 and MMSI 525015422) was built in 1975. The vessel is managed by the Sumatra-based Waruna Nusa Sentana.

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