Maritime News

Pirates active in Philippines

31 March 2017

In a recent incident in the Philippines, pirates – believed to be members of terrorist group Abu Sayyaf – attacked a vessel and kidnapped two crew members. Pirates from three speedboats boarded a tugboat escorting the vehicle carrier Super Shuttle Roro 9 off General Santos City, Mindanao and captured the Filipino captain and chief engineer.

The Philippine armed forces later intervened and rescued the tugboat captain and are reported to have killed one of the pirates. The chief engineer was rescued in a separate military operation.

Five Malaysian seafarers have also been rescued by the Philippine Marines and military. The Abu Sayyaf is believed to be still holding about 28 hostages, most of them Vietnamese seafarers.

Other recent incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) include the following. 

  • A robber attempted to board a tanker anchored at Lubuk Gaung, Indonesia on 26 March. After the crew raised the alarm, the robber escaped in a boat with three accomplices; they were apprehended by Indonesian marine police.
  • A robber boarded a tanker anchored at Batangas, Philippines on 26 March and threatened the crew with a knife. The duty crew raised the alarm and retreated; the robber escaped with ship’s property.
  • Pirates hijacked a dhow off Eyl, Somalia on 23 March and took its 20 crew members hostage. The pirates released the crew after stealing the dhow’s skiffs and food and diesel.
  • Two robbers armed with knives were spotted on board a bulk carrier at Beira, Mozambique on 22 March. The crew mustered and the robbers escaped empty-handed. 
  • A speedboat approached and fired on a tanker 84 nautical miles off Bonny, Nigeria on 10 March. The master raised the alarm, activated the water spray, commenced evasive manoeuvres, broadcast a distress message and mustered non-essential crew in the citadel. A nearby security boat proceeded to assist, and the boat moved away. 

All attacks and suspicious sightings should be reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, tel: +603 2031 0014 (24 hours), email:


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