1st LD: Indonesia calls for armed escort for ship sailing to Philippines amid escalating piracy

JAKARTA — Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Thursday ships travelling from Indonesia’s Borneo to the Philippines to have an armed escort as piracy in the waters is escalating.

The minister stressed that if the vessels fail to have such security guard they should abort the sailing.

“It is a call for boosting security. So if there is an escort by an armed ship, the vessels may sail. But if not, it is better not to have the journey,” Jonan said at the State Palace.

“It is to address the threat of kidnapping,” he added.

The sea lane from Borneo to the Philippines has been frequently used by ship carrying coals from Tarakan of Borneo Island to the Philippine.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said that he is to hold regional talks with military chiefs and foreign ministers from Malaysia and the Philippines to boost security on their borders following the abduction of 14 Indonesian seamen.

The Abu Sayyaf militant group based in the Philippines abducted 10 Indonesian workers from a tugboat and a barge on March 29 off the coast of the Philippines, and demanded ransom.

Four other Indonesians were held hostage weeks after the incident. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com