UNIDENTIFIED armed men abducted five crew members of a Vietnamese commercial vessel in the Basilan Strait yesterday morning, the military reported.
AFP-Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., said that bulk carrier M/V Royal 16, a Vietnam flagged ship, was sailing towards Davao at around 7 a.m. when armed men intercepted it near Coco and Sibagu islands in Basilan.
“Reportedly, the ship was boarded by unidentified number of armed men,” said Tan.
“Reportedly, five crew members were abducted and kidnappers heading towards unknown direction onboard speedboat. Sea and Naval assets already deployed to search and rescue the said kidnap victims,” he added.
The incident was also reported to the Coast Guard-Zamboanga by M/V Lorcon Iloilo, relaying M/V Royal 16 was in distress.
M/V Lorcon Iloilo reported that one of the crew members of M/VRoyal 16 was wounded and was already aboard MV Lorcon Iloilo along with the ship’s fourth engineer.
According to the fourth engineer, whose name was not mentioned, their ship was boarded by 10 armed men who abducted their captain, chief mate, 2nd officer, 3rd officer and other crew members.