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Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon show several large vessels carrying iron ore from Australia to northern Asia which used to take the route through the Sulu Sea now sailing east of the Philippines, through the open Pacific Ocean.
For the period of Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, three attempted piracy incidents were reported to the Asian regional piracy center ReCAAP ISC, two of them in Philippine waters.
There have been 16 attacks since last March on ships in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, through which about $40bn worth of cargo passes each year, according to ReCAAP. Currently, over a dozen crew members are being held hostage by Filipino Abu Sayyaf militants, all from ships sailing through the Sulu and Celebes seas.
The Philippine Navy announced last week that it will send 30 more boats and the best people to help fight the Abu Sayyaf.
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