$25,000 Reward Offered in Case of Missing Cruise Ship

January 31, 2014
(10:00 a.m. EST) -- Pandaw River Cruises has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a river cruise ship that went missing some 70 miles off the coast of Malaysia.

In a statement January 2, the line's founder Paul Strachan reported the ship, Saigon Pandaw, had sunk December 21, 2013, after "the hull became swamped with water and capsized in heavy seas."

The statement also said the line was awaiting results of an "official investigation" into the incident.

On January 12, Scotland's Herald newspaper published a story that the ship had been stolen, "possibly to be stripped of its luxury fittings and then broken up to supply the lucrative East Asian market for scrap metal."

The same story also quoted an appeal from Strachan, which read: "I expect you will have heard rumours that the Saigon was stolen in an act of piracy rather than sunk. I cannot comment. But we have offered a reward for any information that might lead to its recovery. Please pass the reward notice to any contacts you might have, particularly in Indonesia. Meanwhile, we have investigators working on the ground."

At the time it went missing, the 150-foot ship was empty and being towed from Saigon to Singapore, ultimately destined for Yangon, Burma, to add capacity on the line's Irrawaddy sailings. The three-year-old ship was to have been renamed Sagaing Pandaw.

With an active investigation underway, the line is declining comment on the matter, though a representative from Pandaw did confirm an award has been offered for information on Saigon Pandaw's whereabouts and that no other conclusions had been reached to contradict the findings of the official investigation.

Pandaw River Cruises sails 11 ships on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers in Burma and the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. The line launched its two newest ships, Kindat Pandaw and Kalaw Pandaw, in January 2014.

--by Jamey Bergman, UK Production Editor