The Department of Energy (DOE) is deeply alarmed by the recent abduction of seven Indonesian seamen by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that could not affect diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Indonesia, from where the Philippines also imports coal. The abducted Indonesian seamen were towing a coal barge through the Sulu Sea when their tugboat was attacked by gunmen, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) confirmed on Sunday. “Indonesia’s reaction then was to ban ships going to the Philippines. However, they eventually ruled that Indonesian boats cannot be used to go to the Philippines on that route because that would entail entering the Mindanao side via the Sulu Sea and Tawi-Tawi,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada told reporters in a sideline interview of 10th Anniversary of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. “We’re still verifying with the [Philippine] Coast Guard and the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs]. Our foreign ministers on security are also confirming whether Indonesia banned exports completely or if it’s just for small vessels on this route,” she said.