AsiaPiracy

Indonesian port halts coal exports after crew kidnaps

Coal exports have been halted from Banjarmasin port in Indonesia’s South Kalimantan province after crew were abducted from a coal-carrying vessel by suspected Islamic militants, reports say.

“We will not issue sailing permits until the safety situation in this area is conducive,” Banjarmasin harbormaster Takwim Masuku told Indonesia’s Kompas newspaper, referring to waters south of the Philippines.

Coal shipments from Banjarmasin were halted on the advice of the Indonesian Coast Guard and the Navy, the newspaper said. Some of Indonesia’s biggest coal mines, operated by Adaro Energy and Bumi Resources, export coal from the port.

Ten crew members are reportedly still being held captive by kidnappers after a vessel carrying coal from Banjarmasin was attacked on March 15.

Attackers, believed to be militant group Abu Sayyaf, have attacked three tug boats within the space of two weeks in Philippine waters close to maritime borders with Indonesia and Malaysia.

A total of 18 crew have been abducted during the attacks and most are still being held captive.

On March 28, an Indonesian tug, Brahma 12, was hijacked in waters south of the Philippines while en route to the country from Banjarmasin.

Kidnappers, thought to be Abu Sayyaf, are holding the tug’s 10 crew hostage, for which shipowner Patria Maritime Lines says it is ready to pay a $1m ransom.

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Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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