Kalla urges ship owners to not pay ransom to kidnappers

Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla has urged ship owners whose crew members have been taken hostage to not pay ransom to the kidnappers.

“I am completely certain that the government will never negotiate about paying ransom. However, it is possible that those businessmen negotiated (the ransoms) for the safety of their employees. Hence, this is the consequence,” Kalla pointed out here, Tuesday.

Paying ransom would encourage the recurrence of hostage-taking incidents in future, hence the government has always refused to pay ransom, according to the vice president.

Whatever options are there to release the hostages carry their own risks, he remarked.

“If we deploy military personnel, there might be a huge risk. If we pay ransoms, there is also a risk. If we do not pay the ransom, there is a risk, too,” he stated.

A likely solution is by escorting Indonesian-flagged cargo vessels heading to the Philippines and Malaysia, he suggested.

“Escorting them will also carry a risk. It might result in conflicts at sea. Yes, it is okay, but permission should be obtained from the Philippines,” he remarked.

The latest hostage-taking incident occurred on July 9, aboard a Malaysian-flagged trawler LLD113/5/F in the Felda Sahabat waters, Tungku, Lahad Datu, Sabah State, Malaysia.

When the incident occurred, the vessel had aboard four Indonesian crew members and three Filipinos of the Bajau Palauh tribe.

Of the vessels seven crew members, three, all Indonesians, were kidnapped, while four others were released.

The Indonesian citizens abducted by the Philippine separatists are 34-year-old Lorence Koten, 42-year-old Teodorus Kopong, and 40-year-old Emanuel.

The vessels owner reported the incident to the Lahad Datu Police on July 10. According to information, they were ambushed by five armed men aboard a speed boat.

The three hostages were reportedly taken to Tawi-tawi, South Philippines.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi has reiterated that the Indonesian government will not support any ransom-paying policy, although it would give priority to the safety of the hostages.

Source: Antara News