Vietnamese vessel escapes armed gunmen in Philippine waters, flees to Malaysia

By VnExpress   March 6, 2017 | 06:52 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese vessel escapes armed gunmen in Philippine waters, flees to Malaysia
Members of the Philippine Coast Guard board a cargo vessel during a maritime law enforcement exercise. Photo by Reuters

The ship changed course after spotting armed gunmen on a speedboat and has arrived in Malaysia safely.

A Vietnamese cargo vessel has managed to evade a speedboat carrying armed gunmen in Philippine waters Sunday and has received protection in Malaysia, the Star reported.

MV Phu An, carrying foodstuff with 13 crewmembers aboard, spotted at least six armed men on a speedboat so it immediately changed course and entered Malaysian waters later Sunday afternoon, where it was escorted to a safe place, a Malaysian security commander told the newspaper.

Waters in southern Philippines have seen increased activity of Abu Sayyaf, a group of Filipino Islamic militants which has raked in millions of dollars in ransoms over the past 15 years.

The group is the prime suspect in the attack on a Vietnamese cargo ship with 17 crew members to the southwest of the Philippines last month, AFP said, quoting Philippine foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay. Two of the crew members were killed and five others abducted.

At least six Vietnamese crew members of another vessel had been abducted in the area in November last year. Those fell victims in February are among more than 30 hostages held by the group, together with crew members from Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

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