It has been announced this week that as of May 2017 Philippines, Malaysia & Indonesia will launch joint piracy patrols in waters of the Sulu Sea.
Since August last year there has been a rise in the amount of kidnappings and assaults on local small craft, international pleasure craft and smaller international trading vessels operating in the area. This has been linked to the local terrorist organisation, Abu Sayyaf, who run a kidnap-for-ransom network and have recently pledged their alliance to so called Islamic State. They currently hold over 31 hostages, including six Vietnamese seafarers taken from their vessel off southern Philippines last month, according to local military intelligence.
To prevent the rise of “Somalia-type” piracy in the area the three nations have agreed on intelligence sharing and patrolling of the area. The Defence Secretary of the Philippines has been quoted as saying “…Abu Sayyaf and other extremist groups are the Philippines’ top security threat…the kidnappings are embarrassing to the whole world…”
Members are to be aware of the current and developing situation in the area and prepare their vessels accordingly.