ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits attacked a Japanese cargo ship in the Sulu Sea near Tawi-Tawi province, belated reports on Tuesday said.
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) reported that the bulk carrier Kumiai Shagang thwarted the November 20 attack and continued its voyage from Port Hedland in Australia to Qingdao in China.
The Sulu Sea in the southwestern area of the Philippines is separated from the South China Sea in the northwest by Palawan and from the Celebes Sea in the southeast by the Sulu Archipelago.
The cargo ship is owned by Southern Pacific Holding and managed by Kumiai Senpaku.
According to the regional piracy watchdog ReCAAP, the ship’s crew took anti-piracy measures and successfully prevented boarding by the perpetrators.
It also said that since March this year, there have been 11 incidents in the area and most of these were claimed by the Abu Sayyaf.
At least 44 crew have been abducted this year off Sabah in Malaysia and the Abu Sayyaf is still holding over a dozen kidnapped Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese sailors, including a German boater Jurgen Kantner.
There was no immediate statement from the military’s Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City as to the reported recent attack.