Another tugboat appears to have fallen prey to Abu Sayyaf terrorists with its crew taken hostage.
Fishermen off Sabah in Malaysia yesterday afternoon came across a tugboat with no crew onboard. The vessel’s engine was still running. The tug had been engaged to shift a barge of sand. Local police said they were investigating the crew’s disappearance, but given the proximity to Philippine waters, the incident has all the hallmarks of another kidnapping for ransom by the Islamic militant group operating in the far south of the Philippines.
Abu Sayyaf has taken more than 25 seafarers hostage this year – predominantly targeting smaller vessels in and around the Sulu and Celebes seas.
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have vowed to up naval patrols in the area to fight Abu Sayyaf, while the Indonesian government has also suggested owners put armed guards onboard.