ReCAAP ISC has issued a warning stating that on September 23 at about 1200 hrs, seven masked-men armed with high powered firearms such as M16, RPG and pistols abducted three Indonesian crew from a Malaysian fishing boat. The perpetrators are believed to be members of the Kidnap for Ransom Group (KFRG) in Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The fishing boat was in the vicinity waters of Tambisan Island, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia when the perpetrators boarded the fishing boat from two pump boats. The perpetrators then fled towards Tawi-tawi Island, Philippines. Local media reports indicate that the men were taken after a pair of trawlers were boarded. Seafarers were only taken from one vessel, but documents and mobile phones were taken from the other.
The Malaysia and Philippine authorities are stepping up patrol efforts and intensifying military operations to rescue the abducted crew and “neutralize” the militant group.
The risk of the abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah is high, says the ReCAAP ISC, noting the abduction of nine crew on June 18 this year. All ships are advised to reroute from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.