US

US ready to help Southeast Asia fight extremist sea attacks

  • Rear Admiral Brian Hurley, the commander of the US 7th Fleet Task force 73, talks to a select group of reporters on board the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy off the waters of Legazpi city in central Philippines Monday, July 4, 2016. Rear Admiral Hurley said the U.S. military is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed as part of America's aim to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation in the region. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez)

    Rear Admiral Brian Hurley, the commander of the US 7th Fleet Task force 73, talks to a select group of reporters on board the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy off the waters of Legazpi city in central Philippines Monday, July 4, 2016. Rear Admiral Hurley said the U.S. military is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed as part of America's aim to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation in the region. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez)  (The Associated Press)

  • The US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked off the waters of Legazpi city in central Philippines for a medical mission Monday, July 4, 2016. Rear Admiral Brian Hurley, the commander of the US 7th Fleet Task force 73, in an interview with a select group of reporters on board the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy said the U.S. military is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed as part of America's aim to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation in the region. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez)

    The US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked off the waters of Legazpi city in central Philippines for a medical mission Monday, July 4, 2016. Rear Admiral Brian Hurley, the commander of the US 7th Fleet Task force 73, in an interview with a select group of reporters on board the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy said the U.S. military is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed as part of America's aim to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation in the region. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez)  (The Associated Press)

A U.S. Navy official says the United States is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed.

Rear Adm. Brian Hurley said in an interview Monday the U.S. Navy has worked with Southeast Asian governments to ensure freedom of navigation and the safety of people in the region and will continue to do so.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to take possible coordinated actions, including sea and air patrols, and establish a "transit corridor" as designated sea lanes for boats and ships in the high seas bordering them to stop an alarming wave of cross-border attacks by Abu Sayyaf extremists and allied militants.