Govt forces foil seajacking attempt off Zamboanga del Norte

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MANILA, Philippines — Government forces foiled an attempt to hijack a cargo vessel in the seas off Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte Tuesday morning, the military’s Western Mindanao Command said.

Captain Jo-Ann Patinglay, Westmincom spokesperson, said the MV Anabelle, which was sailing to Zamboanga City form Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte with a crew of 21, made a distress call to report gunmen in three motorboats were attempting to board the vessel.

Naval Forces Western Mindanao immediately ordered all vessels on patrol to head to the last reported location of the MV Anabelle as the Air Forces deployed two helicopters.

The MV Anabelle’s captain reported the motorboats fled on noticing the approaching navy vessels and helicopters. The cargo vessel was escorted to Zamboanga City by Navy Patrol Craft 395, Petinglay said.

In late February, government security forces also foiled an attempt by the Abu Sayyaf to seize the MV Dong Hae Star off Tawi-Tawi.

While giving assurances government forces are ready to respond to any emergency, Westmincom chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr. also urged sailors plying the southern Philippine waters to be “vigilant all the time.”