Filipino authorities have confirmed that the five crew members who were reported missing from the Malaysian tug boat Serudong 3 off Tambisan, Malaysia, on July 18, have been abducted by members of the Filipino Muslim militants, Abu Sayyaf, The Philippine Star reports.
The news agency cited the Filipino Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza as saying that the militant group is behind the incident. Dureza revealed no further details on the incident, but said that the military action is not the sole solution to stopping the culture of kidnapping in Mindanao.
The UK-based security broker agency Asket has cited Filipino and Malaysian sources as saying that the Captain of the tug contacted his wife to relay that the militant group is asking around USD 5 million for the release of the five Malaysian nationals.
The tug was towing a barge, Serudong 4, from Sempona to Sandakan, and was expected to reach Sandakan at around 5 pm local time, July 18.
However, the vessel was found abandoned and with the engine still running at around 2 pm off Dent Haven by the crew of another tug heading to Jeroco Kretam.
World Maritime News Staff