Vietnam issues warning over crew abductions off East Sabah and the Philippines

By Doan Loan   May 4, 2016 | 02:29 pm GMT+7
Vietnam issues warning over crew abductions off East Sabah and the Philippines
An anti-piracy exercise. Photo by Transport Newspaper

The Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) has issued a warning to local shipowner associations after crew members of foreign tug boats were abducted in waters off Malaysia's East Sabah and the southern Philippines, the VMA said in a recent statement.

The warning was made after the VMA received a special report about crew being abducted from tug boats in the region from the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

ReCAAP is a regional government-to-government agreement that aims to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia.

The VMA instructed local shipowners to follow security plans already approved by Vietnamese authorities and take the necessary measures to avoid any incidents in these areas.

From March 26 to April 15, the ReCAAP Focal Point (Philippines) reported three incidents of abducted crew from tug boats in the waters off East Sabah and the southern Philippines. The incidents occurred on board Indonesian-registered tug boat the Brahma 12 on March 26, Malaysian-registered tug boat the Massive 6 on April 1 and Indonesian-registered tug boat the Henry that was towing a barge on April 15.

The shipping industry is advised to keep watch while ships are at anchor, keep vessels and their surroundings well-lit and sound the alarm if unknown people are sighted in the vicinity or on board. They should also keep close watch on advice issued on navigational telexes, report all incidents, avoid the areas where possible and maintain continuous communication with law enforcement agencies or their companies, according to the ReCAAP report.