Eight Abducted from Trawler Off Sabah
The ReCAAP ISC has issued an incident alert after the abduction of eight crewmen from a fishing boat off Sabah, Malaysia.
The Philippine Coast Guard reported that six gunmen dressed in black suits with masks used a gray speedboat with twin engine (40 HP) to abducted the eight from the Malaysia-registered fishing trawler SSK 00543.
The trawler was found abandoned on January 17 at about 1500hrs approximately four nautical miles off the coast. On January 18, the Malaysian authorities reported that they had recovered three of the eight missing crew in the vicinity of Lahad Datu, Sabah. The Philippine authorities were conducting maritime patrols in the area near Sulade island which was believed to be the staging area of the pirates.
This is the first abduction of crew incident reported to ReCAAP ISC in 2020. There were two incidents of abduction of crew reported in 2019 (June 18 and September 23). All have subsequently been rescued and released.
The ReCAAP ISC strongly urges ship masters and crew to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area.