Sea patrols of Naval Forces Western Mindanao foiled another Abu Sayyaf Group attempt to attack a Panamian-flagged merchant vessel passing off Tawi-Tawi waters last Feb. 22.
In a statement Friday, NFWM head Admiral Rene Medina said the attempt took place around 10 a.m.
He added the M/V Dong Hae Star, which was passing the Sulu Sea on its way to Indonesia, transmitted a distress call to Littoral Monitoring Station in Bongao after noticing that suspicious looking speedboats with armed men were pursuing them as they were passing off Pearl Bank in Tawi-Tawi.
More patrol boats were deployed to the area, scaring the bandits, who all then fled to an unknown direction.
Medina said LMS Bongao continue to monitor said vessel while transiting the area even as Navy ships under Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi continue to patrol the area.