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May 11, 2016

2 Indonesian flag carrier vessels hijacked again

Two Indonesian flag carrier vessels hijacked  again
 #Updates
 4 Indonesian sailors held hostage by militants in the Philippines released
Four Indonesian sailors abducted in April by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines have been released, just over a week after the gunmen freed 10 other Indonesians in a separate incident.
"Finally, the four Indonesians being held hostage by the armed group have been freed. They are in good health," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters at the state palace in Jakarta yesterday.
The men are in the custody of the Philippine authorities and will be handed over to Indonesia soon, he said. He thanked the Philippine government for providing "very good cooperation in both releases".

 The four men were among a crew of 10 manning the tugboat TB Henry that was hijacked by the Abu Sayyaf as it was sailing from Cebu in the Philippines to Tarakan in North Kalimantan on April 15. The Malaysian authorities rescued the other six.

The Philippine military's spokesman, Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, said Sulu provincial officials turned over the hostages to a task force hunting the notorious Abu Sayyaf group at 2pm. "Arrangements are now being finalised for the handover of the Indonesian nationals to the Indonesian authorities," he said in a statement.
Mr Joko did not mention if any ransom was paid to the militants, but said the release was "one of the outcomes of a meeting" of foreign ministers and military commanders from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on naval security last Thursday.
At that meeting, the parties agreed to launch coordinated patrols and set up crisis centres in their respective countries to better respond to emergencies in piracy- prone areas in the Sulu and Sulawesi seas. A dedicated hotline will also be set up to enable faster exchange of information in times of crisis at sea.
The spate of hostage-taking has raised alarm in South-east Asia that the Abu Sayyaf is employing a new tactic of abducting sailors for ransom in the seas of southern Philippines and north-east Sabah.
A ransom of 50 million pesos (S$1.4 million) was believed to have been paid in the earlier May 1 release of the 10 Indonesians, who were abducted by the militants on March 29 as they were sailing to Batangas in the southern Philippines.
Six days before their release, the extremists beheaded Canadian John Ridsdel, 68, a former mining executive and journalist.


Indonesian foreign ministry says four of its nationals have been kidnapped and another shot in the hijacking of a tugboat and barge in the waters near the border with Malaysia and the Philippines.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry says in a statement Saturday that the gunshot victim and five other crew members escaped the hijackers and are now in Malaysia.

The ministry says the incident took place early Friday evening. 15 April 2016 at 18:31 local time.
It comes after the kidnapping in March of the 10-member crew of an Indonesian tugboat and barge in the often insecure border region between the southern Philippines and Indonesia.
In that case, the owner of the hijacked tug boat received telephone calls, purportedly from the militant group Abu Sayyaf, demanding a ransom.
Authorities believe the 10 Indonesians are held captive in the Philippines

MANILA: Islamist militants seized four Indonesian crew of a tugboat in the southern Philippines on Friday night, the third attack on slow moving vessels in about a month, a military spokesman said on Saturday, as troops battled Muslim rebels on a nearby island.
Major Filemon Tan said seven gunmen in a blue speed boat attacked two Indonesian flagged tugboats off the Philippines' southernmost island of Sitangkay in Tawi-tawi, near the border with Malaysia's eastern Sabah state, and took the four crew.
"We don't exactly know who took them but the only lawless group operating in that area is the Abu Sayyaf," Tan said, adding 10 Indonesians and four Malaysians were also abducted in two separate incidents early this month in the south.
The Indonesian foreign ministry issued a statement said four Indonesian crew were taken captive after gunmen attacked two tugboats, TB Henry and TB Cristy, on their way to Kalimantan from Cebu. Six other crew were left behind but one was shot.
"He is in stable condition now," the foreign ministry said, adding Malaysian water police evacuated the wounded crew to a hospital in Lahad Datu in eastern Sabah state, where the two tugboats were towed to safety.
The military said the Islamist militants have been targeting foreign crew of slow moving tugboats because they could no longer penetrate resorts and coastal towns in Sabah due to increased security.
The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for extortion, kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, is one of several brutal Muslim rebel factions, has stepped up activities on the remote islands.
Last week, the militants killed 18 soldiers and wounded more than 50 others in an ambush on Basilan island, prompting a massive army offensive with artillery and aerial bombings. The military said 28 rebels had died in the week-long fighting.
On nearby Jolo island, the militants gave a final deadline on April 25 for payment of 300 million pesos (US$6.50 million) ransom for each of the two Canadians and a Norwegian captive or they will behead the three foreign captives.
Security is precarious in the resource-rich south of the largely Christian Philippines, despite a 2014 peace pact between the government and the largest Muslim rebel group that ended 45 years of conflict.
Abu Sayyaf militants are holding other foreigners, including one from the Netherlands, one from Japan, one from Norway, two from Canada, four Malaysians and 10 Indonesian tugboat crew.
(Reporting By Manuel Mogato in MANILA and Agustinus da Costa in JAKARTA: Editing by Michael Perry)

Two Indonesian flag carrier vessels hijacked at sea border btwn Malaysia - the Philippines Friday 15/4 at 18.31 local time 



Last month Ten Indonesian sailors were kidnapped in Philippine waters by Islamic militants who had demanded a ransom for their release, a minister said Tuesday.
The crew were travelling on two boats that were transporting coal from Borneo island to the Philippines when they were hijacked, said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
It is not clear when the vessels -- a tugboat and a barge -- were hijacked but the boats' owners received a ransom call from someone claiming to be from the Abu Sayyaf militant group on Saturday, she said.
The Philippine military said they had heard reports the sailors may have been taken by an Abu Sayyaf faction to one of their hideouts in the conflict-wracked south, but were still working to get confirmation.
Abu Sayyaf is a Philippines-based Islamist group notorious for bombings and kidnappings, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Their most recent high-profile kidnapping was of two Canadians and a Norwegian from yachts at a marina in September, with the militants setting an April deadline for millions of dollars in ransom money to be paid.
In the latest case, Marsudi said the hijackers had contacted the boats' owners twice since Saturday and had sought a ransom, but refused to say how much was demanded.
"Our priority is the safety of the 10 Indonesians who are being held hostage, we will keep working hard to save them," the minister told reporters, adding she had been in touch with her Philippine counterpart.

It is unclear where the barge Anand 12 and the crew are being held by the kidnappers but the tugboat Brahma 12 had been released to the Philippine authorities, she said.
- High-profile kidnappings -
Major General Demy Tejares, deputy commander of a task force overseeing southern islands in the Philippines, said authorities were working to confirm the kidnapping had occurred.

He said initial information from sources on the ground indicated the sailors may have been taken by an Abu Sayyaf faction to Sulu, a remote island in the country's southwestern tip that is a hideout of the militant outfit.
He said the tugboat had been recovered on nearby island Tawi-Tawi and was being held by police.
Abu Sayyaf, which operates from remote jungle bases in the southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s with the help of late Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.
It has been blamed for a string of attacks, including the deadliest in the nation's history, the 2004 Manila Bay ferry bombing that claimed more than 100 lives.
A US-assisted campaign against the militants launched around a decade ago was considered a success, with many Abu Sayyaf leaders arrested or killed.
But recent kidnappings, including of the Canadians and Norwegian, in areas previously considered beyond the group's reach, have raised new fears.
Last year the militants beheaded a Malaysian man after abducting him from a seaside restaurant in Malaysia's Sabah state.
A Malaysian woman seized along with him was released after a ransom was reportedly paid.
The Philippine government has repeatedly said it has a "no-ransom policy". But parties linked to foreigners held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf often pay to win their release.
In October 2014 the Abu Sayyaf claimed it received 250 million pesos ($5.3 million) in exchange for two German hostages it held captive for six months. Security analysts said a large ransom was paid.



Tawau, Philippines - On April 12, 2016 MV Massive 6 has sailed again. The ship is planned to continue its journey from Tawau to Samarinda. On 1 April 2016, MV Massive 6 was hijacked by an armed group believed to be a splinter faction of the Abu Sayyaf group in the waters of Ligitan, Semporna, Malaysia.
The ship hijacked was en route to Manila - Tawau while towing a barge loaded with 7,500 tons of coal.
The perpetrators have released 3 Indonesian and 2 Burmese crewmen, but the pirates have taken four Malaysian crewmembers. Currently, the fate of the four remains unknown.
Highline Shipping Sdn. Bhd, the ship’s owner, has replaced the 4 abducted crewmen with four new replacements who are all citizens of Indonesia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Indonesian Citizens Protection Task Force at the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau has been escorting and assisting the process of signing the Employment Agreement of the Sea (PKL) between the indonesian crewmen with ship owners to ensure the rights of the Indonesian crewmen of the MV Massive 6, including basic salary, medical expenses, allowances and leave, have been honored in accordance with applicable rules. The Tawau KRI Task Force also witnessed the departure of MV Massive 6, which departed from the Port of Tawau at 19:30 local time.


Tawau, Philippines - On April 12, 2016 MV Massive 6 has sailed again. The ship is planned to continue its journey from Tawau to Samarinda. On 1 April 2016, MV Massive 6 was hijacked by an armed group believed to be a splinter faction of the Abu Sayyaf group in the waters of Ligitan, Semporna, Malaysia.
The ship hijacked was en route to Manila - Tawau while towing a barge loaded with 7,500 tons of coal.
The perpetrators have released 3 Indonesian and 2 Burmese crewmen, but the pirates have taken four Malaysian crewmembers. Currently, the fate of the four remains unknown.
Highline Shipping Sdn. Bhd, the ship’s owner, has replaced the 4 abducted crewmen with four new replacements who are all citizens of Indonesia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Indonesian Citizens Protection Task Force at the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau has been escorting and assisting the process of signing the Employment Agreement of the Sea (PKL) between the indonesian crewmen with ship owners to ensure the rights of the Indonesian crewmen of the MV Massive 6, including basic salary, medical expenses, allowances and leave, have been honored in accordance with applicable rules. The Tawau KRI Task Force also witnessed the departure of MV Massive 6, which departed from the Port of Tawau at 19:30 local time.

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