Kidnappings at sea are surging, organization warns

Shipping companies urged to avoid most dangerous areas
TOKYO — A wave of maritime kidnappings for ransom is posing a growing threat to the safety of seafarers off Asian and African coasts, the International Maritime Bureau warned in a recent report.
The number of kidnappings at sea more than tripled last year to a 10-year high of 62, the maritime watchdog said in its annual piracy report for 2016. In particular, waters off southern parts of the Philippines, where a local Muslim extremist group known as Abu Sayyaf is active, are becoming an increasing danger to commercial vessels, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based agency.
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