The Vietnamese bulk carrier Royal 16 was hijacked by Abu Sayyaf terrorists near the Philippine island of Basilian. The vessel, which was en route from Hai Phong in Vietnam towards Davao, on 8.3 nautical miles southeast off Coco Island in Basilan Strait was approached by fast skiff with heavy armed men. The pirates opened fire against the vessel and succeeded to take control. Six from the crew on board of the Vietnamese bulk carrier, including include Master, Chief Mate, Second Officer, Third Officer, Bosun and Assistant Bosun, were kidnapped and taken as hostages. The pirates and kidnapped seamen fled in a speed boat in unknown direction. The remaining 13 crew was left on board of bulk carrier Royal 16 and reported about the accident.
The accident was transferred to the Vietnam Maritime Security Information Center and Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy. The investigation for the root cause was started, but there is no details if the hijackers contacted local authorities with ransom request. The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency, Philippine Coast Guard Vietnam Coast Guard are working together to resolve the situation with the six hostages. The vessel proceeded to Zamboanga port under the escort of the local navy.
The hijacking of the bulk carrier comes a few days after Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia warning that slow moving ships with low freeboard should reroute away from the southern Philippines, if possible, as attacks in the area spike.
The Vietnamese bulk carrier Royal 16 (IMO: 9600011) has overall length of 90.00 m, moulded beam of 15.60 m and maximum draft of 4.50 m. The vessel was built in 2011 by Hoang Gia Shipbuilding Industry in their shipyard in Nam Dinh, Vietnam. The owner and operator of the Vietnamese company Quysang Trading Shipping.