Mariners warned to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas
Ship masters and crew are urged to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas, Asian piracy watchdog said, due to a threat of being kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf Group.
Aby Sayyaf is one of the most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines, notorious for kidnappings for ransom.
According to a warning issued by the Philippine Coast Guard, a group of approximately 10 Abu Sayyaf Group members armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launcher is planning to conduct kidnapping activities at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah.
The armed group is primarily targeting businessmen or crew of foreign vessels passing through the area, the coast guard informed.
The group is said to be using unmarked coloured blue and white motor boat locally known as jungkong.
The group has previously carried out a series of kidnappings at sea in the Sulu and Celebes seas, although such reports have declined since 2017.
The militant group is known for keeping mariners in captivity for months or even years in dire conditions, sometimes even resulting in execution. This is in particular due to the fact that the Philippine government has adopted a no-ransom policy when dealing with the militant group.
For more information about our exclusive industry leading services click here