Pandaw River Expeditions has posted a $25,000 reward for “information leading to the recovery” of the RV Pandaw Saigon – the ship that was reported sunk on its way from Vietnam to Singapore in December.

The Saigon, a luxury river cruise vessel, was on its way to Myanmar when it went missing while under tow 70 miles from land. Initial reports said it had been “swamped” and had sunk. But a Scottish newspaper reported at the weekend that the owners now believe the boat was stolen –  “possibly to be stripped of its luxury fittings and then broken up to supply the lucrative East Asian market for scrap metal”.

The Scottish Herald quotes Pandaw founder Paul Strachan as writing to the maritime industry: “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.”

The four-deck Saigon, which is 50 metres long and 10 metres wide, was reported lost off the Malaysian coast on December 21.