Pirates attack cargo vessel off Basilan

February 18, 2018 - 8:56 AM
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A Coast Guard patrol craft guards the cargo ship, M/V Kudos 1, at the anchorage area along R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zamboanga City. (photo courtesy of PCG-Zamboanga)

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Pirates believed to have ties with the Abu Sayyaf tried but failed to hijack a cargo vessel off Basilan.

Captain Joe Anthony Orbe, Naval Task Force 61 commander, said the cargo vessel, M/V Kudos 1, was on its maiden voyage from Davao to Manila when around 12 gunmen aboard three motorboats pursued and tried to board the ship happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday near Sibago Island in Mohammad Ajul town.

The ship, loaded with steel bars and manned by a 27-man crew, fired five red flares. The captain, Chris Paul Magligmot, also commanded an evasive maneuver.

The pirates tried to board the ship but were repelled by crewmen with hot water mixed with oil.

A sailor was injured by glass shards when the gunmen opened fire.

Orbe said Patrol Craft-381 stationed near Coco Island rushed to the vicinity of Sibago Island on seeing the red flares.

“When you see red flare, its a sign that there is trouble (at sea),” Orbe explained.

He said they also deployed Patrol Craft-386, Attack Craft 485, and Naval Special Operations Group personnel on receiving a call for assistance from the Coast Guard.

The 3rd Tactical Operation Wing deployed two night-capable helicopters to provide air support to the responding vessels.

But Orbe said the pirates had already left when the responding forces arrived.