Trial Delayed: Captain Missing in Illegal Oil Transfer Case

A judge's desk in a courtroom
Updated Published

The trial at the Indonesian district court in Batam has been postponed due to the disappearance of the accused, the captain of the tanker involved. The tanker is suspected of participating in an illegal ship-to-ship transfer of crude oil within Indonesian waters.

In July 2023, the Indonesian Coast Guard intercepted two tankers, Arman 114 and S.Tinos, performing unauthorized ship-to-ship oil transfers in the North Natuna Sea.

The Indonesian authorities reported that Arman 114 attempted to escape into international waters. The Malaysian Marine Force assisted the Indonesian authorities in preventing the vessel from fleeing.

According to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) protocol, tanker operators must notify local authorities at least 48 hours before commencing an STS operation in territorial waters.

The ownership of Arman 114 remains unidentified, and although the oil onboard is believed to be Iranian, Iran has denied any ownership of the crude oil cargo.

The Arman 114, along with its Egyptian captain and 28 Syrian crew members, were detained. It is now believed that the captain has fled the town of Batam. The judges have instructed the prosecutor to ensure the captain's presence at the next trial on July 4.

If convicted, the captain could face a seven-year prison sentence and a fine exceeding $305,000. Additionally, prosecutors have requested the auction of the vessel and its cargo, which includes 167,000 metric tons of light crude oil.