MANILA, Philippines – A crew member of a Vietnamese ship was reported killed and 7 others were abducted off Philippine waters in Mindanao.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the Vietnnamese Coast Guard reported to them the attack on MV Giang Hai by unidentified gunmen at 7:10 pm on Sunday, February 19, off Sulu's Pearl Bank.
The Philippines sent speed boats manned jointly by the coast guard and the marines, and found the ship had drifted to Taganak Island, a remote island of Tawi-Tawi province very close to Sabah, Malaysia.
"The team conducted joint maritime patrol in the vicinity waters off Baguan Island and subsequently rescued 17 Vietnamese on board, with 1 dead. Accordingly, 7 other crew were abducted by the unidentified armed men and were brought to undetermined location. The total crew onboard is 25," said Balilo, citing a report.
The kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf is known to operate in the area, but Balilo said investigation is still ongoing.
The ship was towed and was anchored at the Taganak anchorage around 11 am on Monday, February 20.
Balilo said pursuit operation is ongoing with the assistance of the police and the military. – Rappler.com