ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government forces foiled an attempt of Abu Sayyaf rebels to hijack a local cargo ship hat was sailing off Basilan province on Tuesday.
A report said the armed men, on board two speedboats, attacked the vessel Ocean Kingdom manned by over two dozens sailors off Sibago Island around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
The ship was heading to Davao City to deliver its cargo.
A Filipino sailor from another vessel nearby said they received a distress call from MV Ocean Kindom. “Just in [in our VHF radio]: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday this is MV Ocean Kingdom, we are under piracy attacks in the vicinity of Sibago Island,” the sailor, Jefry Abales, wrote on his Facebook page.
He said their ship was just three miles from MV Ocean Kingdom and also heading to Davao City when they received the frantic call from the vessel.
He added the MV Ocean Kingdom managed to sail away from the attackers.
Security forces alerted by the attack rushed to the area and secured the cargo boat owned by Oceanic Shipping Lines.
It was the second cargo ship attacked by rebels off Basilan since November last year.
Abu Sayyaf fighters also hijacked a Vietnamese cargo ship and abducted six crew, including its captain in a daring attack on November 11 that left one sailor wounded.
The ship, MV Royal 16, was sailing off the province when 10 gunmen on a speedboat intercepted it off Sibago Island and seized the crewmen.
Another Filipino cargo ship, MV Lorcon Iloilo, passing near Basilan rescued the wounded sailor and provided him first aid.
The Abu Sayyaf is also holding over a dozen Malaysian and Indonesian sailors in the restive Mindanao region.