On 23 Sep 19 at about 1300 hrs, seven perpetrators wearing mask and military camouflage uniform boarded the fishing boat (SN 338/4/F) from two pump boats painted in green and blue with red stripes in the vicinity waters of Tambisan Island, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
They abducted three Indonesian crew from the fishing boat and fled towards Tawi-Tawi Island, Philippines. The perpetrators believed to be members of the Kidnap for Ransom Group (KFRG) of Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), were reportedly armed with AK 47, M16 (with grenade launcher) and pistols.
The Philippine Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao has intensified their seaborne and coastal security patrol in coordination with Philippine and Malaysian authorities.
Incident Alert: 04/2019
Name and Type of Ship: SN338/4/F / Fishing boat
Date/Time of incident: 23 Sep 19 at about 1300 hrs (GMT +8)
Location: 5° 33.95’ N 119° 1.18′ E
Area Description: Vicinity waters of Tambisan Island, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia
Reported by: Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)
This is the second abduction of crew incident reported in 2019. The first incident of abduction of crew occurred on 18 Jun 19 where nine crew were abducted from two fishing boats, and all were later released on 21 Jun 19.
As the risk of the abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah is high as demonstrated by the occurrence of these incidents, the ReCAAP ISC reiterates its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible.
Otherwise, shipmasters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia. The contact details of the Operation Centres of Philippines and ESSCOM of Malaysia (updated by ReCAAP ISC on 3 Jan 19) are as follows:
In the event that the shipmaster is not able to establish contact with the Operation Centres of the Philippines as listed in the ReCAAP ISC Advisory, he can contact the Philippine Coast Guard Command Centre at the following contact details:
The ReCAAP ISC advises the shipping industry and ships to enhance their situation awareness by referring to the “Guidance on the Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Eastern Sabah” produced by ReCAAP ISC in July 2019. The Guidance is available at www.recaap.org.