Kidnapping crews proves alarmingly lucrative for Abu Sayyaf

Kidnapping seafarers is proving alarmingly lucrative for Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

Newswire Associated Press reports that the Islamist group made more than $7m in ransom payments in the first six months of the year, the majority coming from abducted tugboat crew.

In 2016, Abu Sayyaf has attacked at least five tugs and one trawler and kidnapped 33 seafarers.

Abu Sayyaf has been targeting smaller ships transiting the Sulu and Celebes Seas this year, taking crews for ransom, an escalating problem that has seen the navies of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia up patrols in the area. Splash lead Opinion writer Andrew Craig-Bennett has described the area as “the next Somalia”.


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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