Manila Bulletin, Sunday, March 21, 2010
By: Elena L. Aben
Combined elements of the Philippine Navy (PN) and local security forces in Tawi-Tawi have rescued a Malaysian fishing trawler hijacked earlier in Sabah, Malaysia.
Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, Naval Forces Western Mindanao ( NFWM) commander and head of Joint Task Force Trillium (TF Trillium), in a report to Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, the Navy’s Flag Officer-In-Command (FOIC), Philippine Navy, said the Royal Malaysian Navy Area II Commander, First Admiral Anui has notified his office that a Malaysian registered vessel with six crew members was hijacked near Tigabu Island, Sabah, Malaysia by four suspected robbers at around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday
The hijackers were reportedly asking for a 150,000 Malaysian Ringgit as ransom. Pama said upon receipt of the information, he immediately coordinated with the local officials in Mapun and Taganak areas, and dispatched BRP Cebu (PS28) backed by a patrol craft with elements of the Marines from Marine Battalion Landing
Team (MBLT)2 on board.
“Immediate action of these Fleet-Marine Forces resulted to the early release of the fishing boat to its owners in Sabah on Wednesday in Malaysia,” said Pama.
“The decisive move pressured the hijackers into fleeing back to Sabah and release the trawler to its owners,” he added.
Pama noted the successful operation is attributed to the good relations the Royal Malaysian Navy and Philippine Navy has with its counterpart with other navies in the region.
“With a united stand and cooperation against terrorism and transnational crimes, Asians are assured of a peaceful and secured maritime environment. The Navy is always ready to respond to people in distress regardless of race and color. It is part of its commitment to the international community of providing security to local and national vessels transiting our waters,” according to Pama.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman, also reported the recovery of a kidnap victim by Marine elements in Lamitan City, Basilan.
Arevalo said based on reports reaching the Navy headquarters in Manila, the victim, Examinda Lindio, was seized by a lone suspect March 13 at the vicinity of the public market of Sitio Oval, Barangay Matibay, Lamitan City.