News release on a cargo vessel found stranded in Myanmar seas near the mouth of Sittoung River, seven nautical miles outside Thammaseikta Village,Thongwa Township

Nay Pyi Taw August 31

A foreign cargo vessel by the name “SAMRATULANGI” was found stranded in Myanmar seas near the mouth of Sittoung River, seven nautical miles outside Thammaseikta Village,Thongwa Township, Yangon Region, on the evening of 29 August.

A combined team comprising Tatmadaw members, members of Myanmar Police Force and departmental personnel went to the scence with the use of two naval vessels at 10 pm on that day to provide necessary help.But, they did not find any sailor on the vessel. When they made an initial check, they found equipment in connection with vessel control and sea navigation, damaged and old engine and machinery that were tainted with sea water and engine oil and that were beyond repair and unused kitchen and dining room and lifeboats and life-rafts.

According to investigation, the cargo vessel is registered in Palau. In the front part of the ship, two cables were found. It was reviewed that the vessel might have been moved with the help of a tugboat. After coastal monitoring radars of the Tatmadaw (Navy) showed that two suspicious-looking vessels were moving in the area between the mouths of Yangon River and Sittoung River on 26 and 27 August, war vessels conducted thorough searches in Myanmar’s waters.

As the suspicious vessel was found together with a tugboat under the name Independence about 50 miles from Myanmar’s coast heading towards the other country, they had to be taken for questioning.

After questioning, it is learnt that the owner of the tugboat carrying 13 Indonesian crew members is from Malaysia. SAM RATULANGI vessel stranded near the mouth of Sittoung River was towed away on 13 August by the tugboat Independence from Jakarta, Indonesia,to a factory in Bangladesh where ships are dissembled. When they arrived south of the mouth of Yangon River on 26 August, some of the cables from the tugboat were cut off due to bad weather. Consequently, the vessel drifted away by the current and it was left behind at the scence because of difficulty with going further. This is an initial report and officials are conducting investigation for further details.

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