Indonesia has disallowed its vessels from traveling in Philippine waters right after the abduction of seven crew members of an Indonesian tugboat and barge in the Sulu Sea on 20, officials said on Monday.
Based on a report by Indonesian state news agency, Antara, the Transportation Ministry has prohibited all Indonesian-flagged vessels from voyaging into Philippine seas right after the hijacking of the tugboat Charles 001 and barge Robby 152.
The Charles 001 was pulling the Robby 152 and its load of coal when a number of armed men pounced around the two vessels and took its crew hostage as the vessel was in the area of Sulu Sea.
The vessels in the beginning had 13 people aboard however six of these were afterward released.
Tonny Budiono the Indonesian Transport Director mentioned that seaport authorities are under rigid orders never to issue permits to all vessels bound for the Philippines with no exception.
Indonesian authorities were even urged to carefully keep track of the waters close to the Philippines and act to prevent potential hijackings.
It can be remembered that this wasn’t the first time that an Indonesian tugboat carrying coal together with its crew ended up held hostage by “pirates” in the sea somewhere between Indonesia and the Philippines and also Malaysia. These three nations share a common sea border.
The Philippines has frequently presumed that the assailants victimizing the vessels transiting the region are members of the Abu Sayyaf, a group which claim religious grounds for performing strikes but they are largely considered by the government in Manila as mere bandits out to earn money from kidnap-for-ransom activities and extortion.
Last Saturday, the Abu Sayyaf released Marites Flor, a Filipina kidnapped last November 21 from Samal Island in Davao del Norte. The lady was one of four hostages who was afterwards transported to Sulu. The group still retains Norwegian hotel manager Kjartan Sekkingstad, however two other hostages, Canadians John Ridsdel as well as Hall Robert Hall were beheaded right after the due date given for their ransom expired.
Apart from Sekkingstad, the Abu Sayyaf are presumed to be still possessing a quantity of Malaysian seamen in addition to Dutch along with Japanese captives.
The restriction on vessels from the Indonesian government likewise follow and agreement between defense chiefs of the Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia to carry out combined patrols in common sea borders to deal with the increasing safety issues in your community.
In a meeting held last June 20, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and also Indonesian and Defense Minister General Ryamizard Ryacudu along with Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on Malaysia arrived at an agreement over the need to deal with the increasing threat from kidnappings as well as armed robbery within the seas involving the three countries.
The ministers are making protocols essential for the actions of joint sea patrols to deal with piracy as well as kidnapping.