Seven Indonesian crewmen working on a tugboat called Charles have been kidnapped in Philippine waters, likely by the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf.
“We can confirm the kidnapping. We are coordinating with the police and military to follow up on the report,” said the Samarinda Port Authority chief Colonel Yus Kusmany on Thursday.
Seven of the tugboat’s crewmen were kidnapped while six others were released.
Some local reports are suggesting Abu Sayyaf has demanded a ransom of around $5m from the owner of the tugboat, PT Rusianto Bersaudara, for the release of the hostages.
The incident is the latest in a string of abductions in and around the Sulu Sea which has this week prompted Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to ramp up naval patrols in the area.