Indonesia joins hunt for pirates holding Pinoy
Indonesia has joined the hunt for pirates believed to be behind the abduction of four sailors of a Japanese registered tugboat that included a Filipino engineer following reports that the crewmen were taken to Sumatra Island, abs-cbnNEWS.com learned Wednesday.
The Japan Times reported on its website that Malaysian police believed that the pirates and their captives -- the ship's Japanese captain and chief engineer and Filipino Edgardo Sadang --had landed on Indonesia's Sumatra Island.
The report said Indonesia has dispatched three naval vessels to hunt for pirates.
The Japanese tugboat Idaten was attacked by 15 armed pirates in the Malacca Strait Monday.
Japan has asked Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to help rescue the three crewmen.
The report said Tokyo has not yet been contacted by the pirates.
The 323-ton tugboat is owned by Kondo Kaiji, a shipping company based in Kitakyushu.
The 42.55-meter tugboat later made it to the port at Butterworth in Malaysia's Penang Province.
Wire reports said the pirates came in three fishing boats and were heavily armed with AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The International Maritime Bureau recorded 37 pirate attacks in the Malacca Strait last year. Most involved vessels being fired on and crew members kidnapped for ransom.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore jointly patrol the waterway to hunt for pirates.