Cargo Ship Attacked by Gunmen!



Combined Coast Guard and Navy units foiled an attempt by suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen to hijack a cargo vessel off Basilan yesterday.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the M/V Ocean Kingdom was attacked by suspected pirates on board two yellow speedboats some 25 nautical miles east of Matanal Point in Sibago Island in Basilan.

The armed men reportedly opened fire at the bridge of the cargo ship.

“We received information that the perpetrators fired multiple gunshots at the bridge of the vessel,” Balilo said.

There were no reported casualties while the PCG led a pursuit operation against the pirates.

PCG station chief Cmdr. Alvin Dagalea said Ocean Kingdom made a distress call that they were under attack.

“It was timely that we have our water assets deployed in the area that immediately responded to the distress call,” Dagalea said.

Dagalea said operatives of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao immediately deployed two multi-purpose assault crafts (MPAC) and joined the PCG in going after the gunmen.

“The suspects aboard two very high speedboats retreated (after) sensing the arrival of our assets and the navy MPAC,” he said.

Dagalea said they escorted the cargo vessel, owned by Oceanic Shipping Lines, to Davao City.

The vessel had sailed from Zamboanga City on its way to Davao when it was attacked.

Dagalea added the gunmen could be the same group of Abu Sayyaf militants that snatched a Vietnamese cargo vessel last November and took hostage six of its crew.

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Source: philstar