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12 crew of the hijacked Malaysian tug Woodman 38 were forced by pirates to leave the vessel on a life raft on July 30, with just some quantity of fresh water and no other supplies. After the hijack pirates commanded tug and barge on tow to proceed to Celebes sea, they disembarked crew somewhere between Borneo island and Philippine. Raft was spotted by a Philippine watch post and shortly after airlifted to safety. They were taken to hospital with some dehydration, but generally in good health. Philippine Navy launched a search for the hijacked tug and barge.
Tug Woodman 38 and barge reportedly hijacked, South China sea
ReCAAP reports: On 25 Jul 12 at about 1600 hrs (local time), tug boat Woodman 38 towing barge Woodman 39 departed Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia enroute to Samarinda, Indonesia scheduled to arrive on the morning of 31 Jul 12 for loading of coal. The company last contacted Woodman 38 on 27 Jul 12 at 1238 hrs (local time) off Balabac Island, Philippines (07 56.33N, 117 17.05E). Since then, the company was not able to establish contact with the vessel which has a total of 12 crew (comprising seven Indonesians, four Malaysians & one Myanmar national). The vessel travelled at a speed of 7.02 knots had its tracking system switched off after the last contact. The shipping company reported the incident to the ReCAAP ISC, and seeking assistance to
locate the missing vessels. The ReCAAP ISC had alerted all its ReCAAP Focal Points and the maritime authorities in the region, including the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Indonesian authorities to assist in locating the missing tug boat and empty barge.
Tug Woodman 38 IMO 9257307, GRT 194, built 2001, flag Malaysia, owner WOODMAN SDN BHD.