Indonesia’s naval officers have asked $375,000 to let go of a tanker they detained around last week, accusing it of illegally anchoring in waters of Indonesia off Singapore, two individuals involved in negotiations regarding the unofficial payment mentioned.
The incident came to light after Reuters had reported a dozen of similar detentions in 2021. In those cases, the ship owners had reportedly made an unofficial payment of about $300,000 each, and the vessels detained by the navy east of Singapore had been released.
Armed navy personnel boarded the Nord Joy on 30 May when it was anchored in Indonesian waters toward the east of the Singapore Strait, the security sources reported.
Requested to comment on if naval officers had sought $375,000 for the Nord Joy release, Julius Widjojono who is an Indonesian navy spokesman said that it had thoroughly examined such an allegation and had not found “any indication” of a request of this kind.
He added that collecting unofficial payments for the release of vessels is “strictly prohibited”.
Widjojono did confirm, however, that navy personnel had detained the Nord Joy as they were suspecting it of anchoring in Indonesian waters without valid permission, violating the Indonesian sea passage rights, and sailing without the country’s national flag.
Per Indonesian law, ships that anchor without a permit would be liable to carry a maximum penalty of a year in prison for the vessel’s captain and a 200 million rupiah fine.
The Indonesian navy mentioned in November that they observed an increase in the number of detentions for anchoring without a valid permit.
Vessels were released either owing to lack of evidence or cases were processed via the Indonesian courts and no unofficial payments were done to the staff or the navy, the Indonesian navy reported.