Abu Sayyaf linked with missing tugboat crew off Sabah

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.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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