Three Indonesian crew members were kidnapped from their tugboat by armed pirates off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia, according to Reuters.
The seafarers were taken in the evening hours of July 9 while their vessel was in the waters off the east coast of Sabah.
At the time of the incident, the tugboat was carrying seven seafarers, four of which were left behind by the kidnappers.
It is not clear whether the pirates are linked to Islamist extremists, the Abu Sayyaf group, which was reportedly responsible for a number of kidnappings reported in the Philippine waters.
Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia earlier agreed to jointly work on decreasing security risks in the Southeast Asian waters amid a surge in kidnappings and pirate attacks in the area.
The parties plan to designate a transit corridor for commercial vessels, as well we step up air and sea patrols and escorts for commercial ships to prevent potential attacks.
A definitive agreement on the boarder security agreement could be formalized within a year.
World Maritime News Staff