‘Blow them up and feed them to the sharks’: Duterte talks tough on pirates

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will allow Indonesian maritime authorities to enter Philippine waters when chasing pirates.

“We can make it clear that if the chase begins in Indonesia and continues in international waters, and inside Philippine waters, they can go ahead and blast them off,” the Philippine leader said yesterday.

Duterte has been in Jakarta meeting his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo where the issue of piracy came up – the region has become a global hotspot, largely thanks to Philippine Islamist group, Abu Sayyaf targeting smaller ships in the Sulu and Celebes seas.

“That’s the agreement. Blow them up. That’s my word actually with Widodo. I said, ‘Blow them up’… and maybe if there are sharks around, then we can just feed them to the sharks,” Duterte said.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have signed an agreement to enhance maritime security in the South China Sea.

Lead Splash columnist Andrew Craig-Bennett warned the rise of Abu Sayyaf’s hijackings in the region could see the area become “the next Somalia” in an article earlier this year.


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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