For the past month, rumours of piracy and theft have surrounded the sinking of Pandaw River Expeditions’ RV Pandaw Saigon, which was due to be renamed and chartered by Viking River Cruises in Myanmar. The three-year-old 30-cabin ship was under tow from Vietnam to Singapore, on its way to Yangon, when it was reported lost at sea near Malaysia. Viking River Cruises had planned to rename it the Viking Sagaing for the line’s first season on the Irrawaddy River this year. But within days of the report that the unmanned vessel had capsized on 21 Dec, Travel Daily Cruise Update was among many in the industry to hear whispers of a deliberate sinking or theft, with the boat allegedly to be stripped of its fittings and sold for scrap metal in Asia. Pandaw River Expeditions’ Scottish founder Paul Strachan has now offered a US$25,000 reward for information. In an appeal to the travel industry, issued through the Herald Scotland, Strachan wrote: “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.” The company has also launched an official investigation “on the ground”. Meanwhile, Viking River Cruises, which partnered with Pandaw to charter three ships in Southeast Asia this year, has stated that passengers booked on the Sagaing will be moved to other vessels or they can choose to receive a full refund. “Pandaw has assured Viking that no 2014 sailings will need to be cancelled as a result of this incident,” said Teresia Fors, Viking’s managing director Australia & New Zealand.