Six seafarers have been kidnapped from a Vietnamese bulker sailing in the southern Philippines.
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) said in an alert that the 2,999 gt bulker Royal 16 was boarded by an unidentified number of armed men at 3-30am on Friday, 8.3 nm southeast of Coco Island, while heading from Haiphong to Davao.
The armed men abducted six crew members – the master, chief mate, 2nd and 3rd officer, and the bosun and assistant bosun – and fled in a speedboat.
The 13 crew remaining on the vessel reportedly sailed to Zamboanga following the attack.
Philippines Islamic militant group Abu Sayaaf have taken to targeting commercial shipping in the southern Philippines for kidnap for ransom of their crew.
“The ReCAAP ISC is concerned about the situation of abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Sea region; and advised all slow moving ships to re-route from the area, where possible,” ReCAAP said. “Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area; and report immediately to Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) when transiting nearer to eastern Sabah, particularly when sighting any suspicious activities or boats; and to the Operation Centre in the PCG District Southwestern Mindanao for monitoring and immediate responses in any eventualities,” it added.
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