Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agree on anti-piracy patrols

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have designated a transit corridor for ships crossing a maritime zone hit by a spate of hijackings by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines.

Close to 20 tugboat crew have been abducted this year in and around the Sulu Sea, leading the Indonesian government to speculate that the area could become like Somalia was eight years ago.

“The ministers have agreed in principle to explore the following measures, including a transit corridor within the maritime areas of common concern, which will serve as designated sea lanes for mariners,” the defence ministers of the three nations said in a joint statement after a meeting in Manila yesterday.

Air and sea patrols and escorts for commercial ships in the common maritime areas will be increased.

Philippine defence secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the leaders agreed to share the best practices evolved by Indonesia and Malaysia during a joint effort to patrol the busy Malacca Strait waterway against pirates, as a model for three-way cooperation with the Philippines.


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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