Indonesia banned all local vessels from entering Philippines waters, after several seafarer kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes seas. The spate of hijacking of vessels is linked to southern Philippine Islamic group Abu Sayyaf, which increased its activity on popular and important maritime routes near the archipelago. The decision of the Indonesian government may lead to decrease of coal export to Philippines, which sources around 70% from its need from the southern neighbor. The routes of coal deliveries between both countries are passing though the most dangerous regions, controlled by the pirates from Islamic group Abu Sayyaf. Indonesia wants guarantee for security from the Philippines government before releasing the ban.
“The moratorium on coal exports to the Philippines will be extended until there is a guarantee for security from the Philippines government”, said the Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Marsudi. “This hijacking issue is a serious matter and cannot be tolerated anymore”, added he.
Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are jointly having naval patrols in the effected area, but the hijacking and kidnapping of seafarers are increasing with every month. Just last week 13 Indonesian seafarers were kidnapped from a tugboat in North Borneo at Philippines border area.