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Crew Rescued Following 14 Months Captivity by ASG

March 21, 2021 - 22:03:30 UTC

Abducted Fishermen Rescued by Philippines Armed Forces

ON 17 January 2020, ReCAAP ISC reported that six gunmen dressed in black suits with masks abducted eight crew from fishing trawler, SSK 00543, at approximately 4.24nm North-west of Pulau Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia. More than one year later, four fishermen were rescued by the Philippine Armed Forces.

On 18 January 2020, the Malaysian authorities recovered three of the eight missing crew in the vicinity of Lahad Datu, Sabah. On 29 September 2020, the body of one of the five abducted crew was found during a military operation in Patikul, Sulu, the Philippines. The remaining four crew were held in captivity since then.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard (ReCAAP Focal Point), on 18 March 2021 at about 2230 hrs, four victims previously were rescued from a Jungkong-type watercraft that had capsized in the vicinity waters off Pasigan Laut Island, South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines. The rescued passengers were brought to the Tandubas Municipal Police Station (MPS). Upon investigation, three of them were identified as the crew of fishing trawler SSK 00543 who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on 17 January 20201. The other rescued passenger was a member of the ASG. A further search and rescue operation was carried out to locate other missing passengers, including one of the four abducted crew of SSK 00543.

Location of trawler crew abduction by ASG Image: OCEANUSLive

The ASG members were reportedly ferrying the four abducted crew of SSK 00543 towards Tawi-Tawi province to avoid the intensified military operation in the province when their watercraft capsized in bad weather. Of the four abducted crew, one is still missing. The authorities are conducting search and rescue operation to locate the missing crew.

On 21 March 2021, Joint Operating Elements of the 2nd Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducted intensified search and rescue operation in the vicinity of Kalupag Island, Brgy Kalupag, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines when they encountered two members of ASG with the last crew member who was abducted from fishing trawler SSK 00543 on 17 January 2020. While the AFP elements were engaged in a firefight with the ASG members, the abducted crew member managed to escape from his captors and was rescued by the AFP elements.

With the recovery of the last crew on 21 March 2021, all the four abducted crew of SSK 00543 were rescued by the Philippine authorities.

Source: ReCAAP ISC


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Submitted by Team@oceanuslive.org

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