One person was hurt when the Abu Sayyaf Group-linked pirates attacked but failed to hijack a cargo vessel off Basilan province, military said on Saturday.
The cargo vessel, M/V Kudos 1, was on its maiden voyage from Davao to Manila when a dozen of gunmen boarded on three motorboats pursued and tried to board the ship around 10:30pm Friday near Sibago Island, Mohammad Ajul, said Capt. Joe Anthony Orbe, Naval Task Force 61 commander.
A crew was injured by glass shards when the suspects, armed with high-powered firearms, opened fire, hitting the vessel, loaded with tons of steel bars.
The pirates failed to hijack the ship after the skipper and the crew managed to maneuver the vessel and tried to get the attention of authorities by creating red flare.
"When you see red flare, it's a sign that there is trouble (at sea)," Orbe said.
The Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard immediately deployed patrol craft and boats, while two night-capable helicopters were also dispatched.
Authorities, however, failed to arrest the pirates, who could be the same group of gunmen who attacked a Vietnamese cargo vessel last year, also near Sibago island. DMS