ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits strafed a cargo ship, wounding two of its crew in a failed hijacking off the waters of Basilan near Sibago Island late on Friday.
Authorities said the attack on MV Kudos 1 that was sailing for Davao City to deliver its cargo was aborted when alert sailors prevented the pirates from getting into their ship.
The crew poured boiling water mixed with oil when gunmen on board three motorboats tried to get to the side of the ship.
Chris Maligmat, the ship captain, radioed for help but the gunmen sped off before responding security forces could arrive.
It was unknown why the military failed to prevent the attack despite the enforcement of an extended martial law in the region.
Military officials also did not give any statement on the latest attack.
In January last year, ASG bandits on board two speedboats attacked cargo vessel Ocean Kingdom near the same island also heading for Davao City to deliver cargo
The attack was also aborted.
A Filipino sailor from another vessel tailing the ship said they received a distress call from MV Ocean Kindom, owned by Oceanic Shipping Lines.
“Just in [our VHF radio]: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday this is MV Ocean Kingdom, we are under piracy attacks in the vicinity of Sibago Island,” sailor Jefry Abales wrote on his Facebook account.
He said their ship was three miles from MV Ocean Kingdom and also heading to Davao City when they received the frantic call from the vessel.
Abales added that the MV Ocean Kingdom managed to sail away from the attackers.
In November 2016, Abu Sayyaf fighters also hijacked a Vietnamese cargo ship and seized six crew and its captain, in a daring attack and wounded a sailor.
Another Filipino cargo ship, MV Lorcon Iloilo, passing near Basilan rescued the wounded sailor and provided him first aid.
The ship, MV Royal 16, was sailing off the province when 10 gunmen intercepted it off Sibago Island and abducted the crew.
The bandits behind all the attacks were believed hiding on Sibago Island or off Hajji Mohammed Ajul town.