Reports say Indonesian naval officers have asked for 375,000 dollars to release a detained oil tanker. Indonesia says the ship was anchored illegally in its waters.
According to Reuters news agency, Indonesian navy personnel boarded the Nord Joy late last month to the east of the Singapore Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
Sources say the ship's captain was asked to arrange payment or face long legal proceedings, and months of lost income.
A navy spokesperson confirmed they detained the Panama-flagged ship, but denied any payment was requested. He told Reuters that would be strictly prohibited, and promised an investigation.
The Indonesian navy previously said it has recently been detaining more ships for anchoring without a permit. Indonesian law provides for a fine of up to about 14,000 dollars and the captain's detention.
Navy officials reportedly said they have received no payments, as the cases were either closed due to insufficient evidence or processed through the courts.