Three crew members of the bulk carrier Giang Hai 05 have been rescued during a military operation near Kang Tipayan Island in the Philippines. A fourth crew member was found dead, believed to have died of an illness shortly before the men were rescued.

The Vietnamese men were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants on February 19, 2017, while the vessel was sailing in the Sulu Sea, transporting 4,500 tons of cement from Indonesia to the Philippines. The gunmen killed one and kidnapped six, leaving 10 of the crew behind. ReCAAP ISC had earlier reported that one seafarer was killed trying to escape, and the body of another was recovered in July 2017.

Rescued were: Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc, and Nguten Quang Huy. Nguyin Huu Trong died in captivity. No ransom was paid.

Huy, the master of Giang Hai 05, said he would like to remain a ship’s captain. Speaking to Nugyen Duc Bien of the Vietnamese Embassy, he said: “I would like to thank you sir and the Navy for saving me and my friends’ lives, and we are excited to go home.”

Dr. Baybayan of Crystal Clear Vision provided eye check-ups and glasses to the rescued men.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Da Nang Vietnam to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit missed a gala dinner in order to oversee the seafarers’ return.

“Through the operations conducted by our marines and navy, we successfully recovered the Vietnamese hostages off Tawi-Tawi waters, and we mean to intensify our offensives to pressure the bandits to yield,” said Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Sulu.

In November 2016, a separate group of six Vietnamese were abducted from Basilan. The Abu Sayyaf beheaded two of them in July. Seven foreign nationals and nine Filipinos are currently being held by the Abu Sayyaf in the hinterlands of Sulu.


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