Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interpol hunts fugitive Cambodian ship

Interpol hunts fugitive Cambodian ship

Interpol hunts fugitive Cambodian ship

INTERPOL has been requested by the Sri Lankan Government to trace a Cambodian-flagged

cargo ship that fled harbor arrest in Colombo on October 14 after being detained

for carrying "contaminated cargo".

The Syrian-owned MV Draco, which has flown a Cambodian "flag of convenience"

since April 27, defied a Sri Lankan High Court arrest order in the early hours of

October 14 and has been missing since.

The shipping trade magazine Fairplay reported on October 25 that in mid-September

Draco was diverted to Colombo en route from India to Somalia with a cargo of bagged

rice and fertilizer after it began taking in water through leaks in its hull.

On September 27 Draco was subsequently declared unseaworthy and its cargo contaminated,

and was ordered to pull into dry dock in Colombo for repairs.

It is believed the Draco's captain fled custody in Colombo in an effort to find an

alternative buyer for the contaminated cargo, which was automatically stripped of

its insurance when the ship was declared unseaworthy.

Khek Sakara, Chairman of the Cambodia Shipping Corporation, the Cambodian Government

concession company that sells Cambodian "flags of convenience" to the international

shipping industry, told the Post that instances in which impounded ships flee arrest

are "not unusual".

""It is not unusual for vessels to sneak out of detention if they are not

properly guarded," Sakara told the Post by email. "In many countries, arrangements

must be made to employ policemen or guards on board to prevent vessels [escaping]

from detention."

Sakara pledged that his company would cooperate fully with efforts to retrieve the

Draco and bring its captain to justice.

"We will not allow [Draco] to change name or change ownership ...to avoid detection,"

he said. "We will be most happy to cooperate with Interpol with their investigations."

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