Accordibg to Reuters, Indonesian authorities suspected the ship was carrying out unauthorised activities in the Sunda Strait after its automatic identification system (AIS) had been switched off three times.
The Xiang Yang Hong 03 left Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone late on January 13.
The incident comes after the discovery of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) by a local fisherman off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island in December, initiating concern about a possible security breach.
According to analysts, the AUV may have been made in China, and the navy is still investigating its origins. However, it is not clear if there was a connection between the research vessel and the AUV.
As for the Xiang Yang Hong 03, it told Indonesia authorities that its AIS had malfunctioned.
The vessel was spotted during operations to recover the Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board.