Tanker Wanted for Stolen Cambodian Oil Seized After Hiding in Indonesian Archipelago

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Defense Minister Tea Banh and Energy Minister Suy Sem place Cambodia’s first drops of oil at Phnom Penh’s Win-Win Memorial on June 9, 2021. (Tea Banh/Facebook)

The Indonesian navy has seized an oil tanker that allegedly stole 290,000 barrels of crude oil from Cambodia and KrisEnergy, AFP reported on Wednesday.

KrisEnergy, which produced Cambodia’s first drop of oil in December from its offshore Apsara block, announced in June that it would “proceed to liquidation” as it was unable to pay its debts.

Production in the oil field was below expectations, sinking a company that was already struggling with the financing of loans, and that had consolidated its resources in the Cambodian project.

The Cambodian government announced it was pursuing litigation against the company, alleging Cambodian oil had been stolen.

According to Agence France-Presse, the Indonesian navy issued a statement on Wednesday that the crew of the 183-meter tanker had been unpaid, and sailed from Thailand to Indonesia’s Batam island before turning off the ship’s identification system. The tanker, which had been rented by KrisEnergy, then anchored illegally in the waters of the archipelago near Singapore, AFP said.

The ship’s Bangladeshi captain faces maritime violation charges that could lead to a year in prison and a $14,000 fine. The crew, including three Bangladeshis, 13 Indians and three from Myanmar, were being questioned at a base near Singapore, AFP reported the navy as saying.

“The Indonesian navy will not hesitate to take action against any type of crimes committed within Indonesia’s jurisdictional territory,” commander Arsyad Abdullah said in a statement, according to AFP.

Energy Ministry spokesperson Cheap Sour could not be immediately reached for comment.

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