MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants have abducted a South Korean skipper and a Filipino crewman from a South Korean cargo ship in the latest such attacks that have sparked a security alarm in the busy regional sealanes, military officials said Friday.
About 10 gunmen boarded the MV Dongbang Giant using ropes from a speedboat and abducted skipper Chul Hong and Filipino crewman Glenn Alindajao on Thursday off Bongao town in Tawi Tawi province. The ship was on its way to South Korea from Australia, regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said.
Other crewmen were not seized and one managed to call his family, which reported the assault to authorities, according to Tan.
Naval patrols off Tawi Tawi and nearby Sulu, where Abu Sayyaf militants take most of their kidnapping victims, have been strengthened in recent months due to a spate of abductions at sea that have ensnared crewmembers from Malaysia and Indonesia, Tan said.
"We do our best to secure that area but it's a wide body of water," Tan said by telephone.
Malaysian, Indonesian and Philippine defense officials have been meeting to plot ways of stopping the daring kidnappings in the waters, a busy route for commercial and passenger ships.