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Navy, Airforce foil seajacking attempt off Zambo del Norte

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Philippine Navy boats and Airforce helicopters foiled a seajacking attempt by an unidentified group of armed men to a cargo vessel off Zamboanga del Norte province Wednesday morning.

The incident, which took place at around around 8:00 a.m., followed after the military's Western Mindanao Command through its Naval Forces were immediately deployed in the seas of Siocon town.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, WestMinCom spokeswoman, said the cargo vessel "MV Anabelle" with 21 crew members on board was plying the sea waters off Siocon from Liloy enroute to Zamboanga City when intercepted by armed group.

She said the vessel gave a distress call and reported that three motorized boats with undetermined number of armed men onboard were seemingly attacking them and attempting to board their vessel.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., WestMinCom chief, immediately directed all naval ships patrolling the area to proceed to the last reported location of MV Anabelle.

Two Philippine Air Force helicopters were also deployed to fly over the reported area. The vessel's captain said that the pursuing motorized boats immediately left the area upon sensing the arrival of the navy ships and the helicopters.

MV Anabelle was then escorted by Navy Patrol Craft 395 to Zamboanga City while continuously being monitored by the Littoral Monitoring Station Pilas until it was able to dock safely.

"Our naval assets are all ready to render necessary assistance, to deter seajacking and abduction at seas," Rear Adm. Rene V. Medina, Commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said in the same statement.

On Feb. 22, 2017, navy ships were also able to foil an attempt to seajack MV Dong Hae Star by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Tawi-Tawi. The bandits immediately aborted their plan upon sensing the arrival of the naval ships and air assets.

According to Galvez, the moment they receive calls for help, WestMinCom will be fast on our tracks to foil any attempts of terrorism or piracy.

"Our sailors plying these waters should be vigilant all the time since these threats will be trying to seajack vessels and conduct atrocities. It is only when all of us will do our share of fighting this common enemy that we will surely defeat and disallow the bandits to continue sowing fear and terror in our seas and our communities," he said. Hader Glang




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