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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Esscom saves Vietnamese carge ship from robbery, kidnapping

SANDAKAN - Help from the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) saved a Vietnamese merchant ship that was at risk of robbery or kidnapping while plying through Philippine waters.

ESSCom commander DCP Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said about 4pm last Sunday, ESSCom detected emergency radio signals through Channel 16 from the ship, MV PHU AN 268.

He said the captain of the ship informed that while travelling in the waters off Boan Island in the Philippines, the crew detected a boat with six people trailing it in a suspicious manner and tried to intercept it.

In a statement here yesterday, he said the captain then increased speed and changed direction to head towards Malaysia.

Wan Abdul Bari added that acting on the information, ESSCom sent a Viper patrol boat and its KD Sri Tiga ship to the Malaysian maritime boundary to find and escort the MV PHU AN 268 to Sandakan Port safely.

He said the quick action of the cargo ship captain in getting assistance made it easy for ESSCom to mobilise its assets to foil the plot.

The commander urged all seafarers, especially local fishermen, to install the radio Channel 16 and the automatic identification system in their vessels to make it easy for them to seek help or report any suspicious activities to ESSCom.

He said local fishermen had also been reminded not to catch fish in the Philippine waters.

However, he said there were still local fishermen who were detected catching fish in the waters off Taganak Island in the Philippines, with the latest being on March 2.

“We view this seriously as the waters between Boan Island and Taganak Island have been the location for several kidnappings. As such, this is a high-risk area,” he said.

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