Sea kidnappings at 10-year high, Southern Philippines new ‘hotspot’

Reading Time: 1 minute

The number of maritime kidnappings hit a ten-year high last year, with waters off the southern Philippines, particularly the Sulu Sea, becoming increasingly dangerous, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

In its analysis presented on January 10, the IMB came to the result that pirates seem to have shifted from attacks and robberies to more lucrative kidnappings. While the overall number of pirate attacks has declined in recent years, the IMB said 62 people worldwide were kidnapped for ransom at sea last year compared to only 19 in 2015, nine in 2014 and the most in a decade.

The findings were released on the same day when news broke that eight local fishermen have been found shot dead in their boat off Mindanao island possibly as a result of an extortion attempt. Four days later, a South Korean ship captain and a Filipino crewman kidnapped three months ago by Abu Sayyaf members were released, apparently after ransom had been paid.

The Sulu archipelago is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, an Al-Qaeda linked group notorious for kidnappings and, increasingly, piracy.

Tug boats, barges and fishing vessels have been targeted previously, but lately merchant ships are also being attacked, the IMB said. They include the massive 180,000 tonne iron ore carrier Kumiai Shagang that saw an attempted attack late last year.

“The kidnapping of crew from ocean going merchant vessels in the Sulu Sea and their transfer to the Southern Philippines represents a notable escalation in attacks,” the IMB noted and advised charterers and owners to consider avoiding the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea completely by routing vessels West of Kalimantan.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

The number of maritime kidnappings hit a ten-year high last year, with waters off the southern Philippines, particularly the Sulu Sea, becoming increasingly dangerous, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB). In its analysis presented on January 10, the IMB came to the result that pirates seem to have shifted from attacks and robberies to more lucrative kidnappings. While the overall number of pirate attacks has declined in recent years, the IMB said 62 people worldwide were kidnapped for ransom at sea last year compared to only 19 in 2015, nine in 2014 and the most in a...

Reading Time: 1 minute

The number of maritime kidnappings hit a ten-year high last year, with waters off the southern Philippines, particularly the Sulu Sea, becoming increasingly dangerous, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

In its analysis presented on January 10, the IMB came to the result that pirates seem to have shifted from attacks and robberies to more lucrative kidnappings. While the overall number of pirate attacks has declined in recent years, the IMB said 62 people worldwide were kidnapped for ransom at sea last year compared to only 19 in 2015, nine in 2014 and the most in a decade.

The findings were released on the same day when news broke that eight local fishermen have been found shot dead in their boat off Mindanao island possibly as a result of an extortion attempt. Four days later, a South Korean ship captain and a Filipino crewman kidnapped three months ago by Abu Sayyaf members were released, apparently after ransom had been paid.

The Sulu archipelago is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, an Al-Qaeda linked group notorious for kidnappings and, increasingly, piracy.

Tug boats, barges and fishing vessels have been targeted previously, but lately merchant ships are also being attacked, the IMB said. They include the massive 180,000 tonne iron ore carrier Kumiai Shagang that saw an attempted attack late last year.

“The kidnapping of crew from ocean going merchant vessels in the Sulu Sea and their transfer to the Southern Philippines represents a notable escalation in attacks,” the IMB noted and advised charterers and owners to consider avoiding the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea completely by routing vessels West of Kalimantan.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid