ZAMBOANGA CITY — Government troops rescued an Indonesian fisherman, the last captive of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the province of Sulu, a top military official said Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, identified the rescued Indonesian fisherman as Muhammad Farhan, 27, who was rescued around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday in Barangay Bato-Bato, Indanan, Sulu.
Presidential Chief of Staff Noh Young-min said Thursday that the government could seek its own way to protect the lives and properties of Koreans in the Strait of Hormuz rather than participating in a U.S.-led naval coalition policing the region.
His remarks came amid Washington’s increasing pressure on Seoul to participate in the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), a coalition of countries including the United States, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and Bahrain sending naval units to the area to safeguard navigation.
The Red Sea has been attracting an increasing amount of attention from Gulf states in recent years. Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered $3 billion in aid to Sudan following the ouster of former dictator Omar Al Bashir, and some states have intervened as part of the Combined Task Force off the coast of Somalia to help combat piracy in the area. Also just last week, this trend culminated in the creation of a special council for Arab and African nations bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, at a conference held in Riyadh this month.
The two-day 14th Malacca Straits Patrol Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting, hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), will be co-chaired by representatives of the four littoral states, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said in a statement on Wednesday.
A total of 82 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 71 actual incidents and 11 attempted incidents) were reported in Asia in 2019. This accounts for a 8% increase in the total number of incidents and a 15% increase in the actual incidents reported in 2019 compared to 2018. In 2018, 76 incidents (comprising 62 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents) were reported. Majority of the incidents reported in 2019 were armed robbery against ships. Of the 82 incidents reported in 2019, two were incidents of piracy, and 80 were incidents of armed robbery against ships.
There was improvement at some ports and anchorages in Asia in 2019 compared to 2018. The improvement occurred in Bangladesh and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, no incident was reported at its ports and anchorages in 2019 compared to 11 incidents in 2018. In Indonesia, the number of incidents at its ports and anchorages decreased to 23 incidents in 2019 from 27 incidents in 2018.
Russian-Japanese anti-piracy naval exercises in the Gulf of Aden will take place in late January, and will involve, for the first time, a task force fromRussia‘s Baltic Fleet, Admiral Alexander Nosatov, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, said Monday.
“The ships of the Baltic Fleet took part in similar exercises with other countries, but never with the Japanese Navy … Anti-piracy exercises are upcoming, they will start sometime after the 20th of January, the planning stage is underway,” Nosatov told reporters.
Amid tensions between Washington and Tehran, Tokyo despatched two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to the Middle East on 11 January to carry out intelligence-gathering operations in the region aimed at helping ensure the safety of vessels conducting commercial operations with Japan.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) mission, which was approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 27 December 2019, will also include the deployment to the region of Takanami-class destroyer JS Takanami , which is due to leave the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo on 2 February.