North Sulawesi Marine Police have detained three alleged hijackers of the Indonesian-flagged tanker Rehobot.
They were named as La Ade Boy Tan aka Valentino, Machmud Manoppo, and Alko Pankey, and were detained at Nagrak, Gunung Putri.
Out of 13 suspects, four are already on trial at Bitung State Court, while six remain at large.
According to the Indonesian Marine Police Law Enforcement chief Frederik Kalalembang, there was one mastermind behind the alleged hijack and fuel-siphoning incident on 28-29 January 2015; eight carried it out, helped by another four.
The police say the vessel was boarded by the hijackers using a speedboat. At the time, Rehobot was sailing from Bitung to Halmahera, Indonesia, carrying 1,100 tonnes of diesel oil worth around IDR200 million (USD14,000).
After taking dozens of Rehobot crew members as hostages, the hijackers changed the ship’s course towards southern Philippines.
The six suspects being sought by police have been named as Juke Bantunan, Frans Rompies, La Una, La Dula, Lau Budu, and Pendi.
According to North Sulawesi Marine Police, the man they believe headed the operation, La Ade, is a fugitive being sought in connection with a similar fuel siphoning operation in 2013.
Indonesian authorities found the crew drifting on liferafts off Lembeh Island, Indonesia, on 31 January. The missing vessel was found grounded off Mati City, Philippines, on 23 February by the Philippines Coast Guard.