Sixteen Indonesian men were arrested by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for allegedly robbing an empty oil tanker from Mersing, Malaysia last week.

At 6:25am on June 1, 14 Indonesian men aged between 30 and 53 were apprehended onboard the MT Bright by the MMEA, while two gang leaders aged between 40 to 50 were arrested in Batam, Indonesia, three hours later, The Sun Daily reported.

Datuk Seri Zulkifili Abu Bakar, the MMEA director-general, said the oil tanker the men tried to rob, the MT Lee Bo, had six Indonesians and six Sri Lankans onboard.

“The pirates were reported to have robbed MT Lee Bo with 12 crew members comprising six Indonesians and six Sri Lankans and took their personal belongings after finding the vessel was empty,” Bakar said.

Bakar said the robbers were armed with knives and machetes and injured two crew members. They reported took all the crew members’ money, mobile phones and laptops.

“From intelligence information, it was found the robbers were targeting another ship, but changed their target at the last minute to MT Lee Bo without knowing the oil tanker was not carrying a load,” he said.

The robbers were brought to the Mersing Maritime Zone office for further investigation under Section 397 of the Penal Code for robbery.