Indonesia bans local ships calling to the Philippines

On Friday Jakarta banned all Indonesian-flagged vessels from heading to the Philippines, after a spate of seafarer kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes seas in recent months, linked to southern Philippine Islamic group Abu Sayyaf.

The move could lead to a shortfall in coal for the Philippines, which sources around 70% of the important raw material from its neighbour, Indonesia.

“The moratorium on coal exports to the Philippines will be extended until there is a guarantee for security from the Philippines government,” said Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi.

“This hijacking issue is a serious matter and cannot be tolerated anymore,” Indonesia’s transport ministry’s water transport director general A. Tonny Budiono said in a statement.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have jointly vowed to up naval patrols in the effected area, but thus far this has not made for any deterrent with another seven Indonesian seafarers abducted from a tugboat this past week.


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.


  1. Armed guards on board and to do like President Duterte says, shoot to kill. Soon there will be no pirates.

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