The Jakarta Post
Prior to coming under attack by Abu Sayyaf armed extremists, crewmen of tugboat Charles altered their set route to traverse conflict-prone waters in the southern Philippines in an effort to save time and cut costs, a crewman has said.
"It is faster by one day," explained engineer IV, Syahril, as quoted by kompas.com. Syahril was one of six crewman freed by the Abu Sayyaf group on June 20. Seven crewmen have yet to be released.
Syahril said the men on board had been aware of the dangers of the alternate route but, as they had not personally experienced a disturbance, decided to take a chance. This lack of awareness had instilled confidence in the sailors to take a route which had been banned by the government.
Kidnappings involving Indonesian vessels -- Brahma 12 and Henry -- some-two months ago, led port authorities to obligate vessels to travel through safe sea lanes so as to avoid the risks associated with Sulu waters. Rusianto Bersaudara, the company that owns the TB Charles, had agreed to abide.
Syahril said they had not been given the additional funds necessary for an alternate route, adding that the company believed that the travel expenses were the same either way. The decision not take the safer route was made on the authority of the captain and the wardroom, Syahril added. (liz)
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