Indonesian police officers stand guard (Photo: AP)

Hanoi (VNA) – An Indonesian transport official has said ships travelling from the country's Borneo Island to the Philippines need to have an armed escort as piracy in the waters is escalating.

Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said on April 28 that there is a call for boosting security. If there is an escort by an armed ship, the vessels may sail. Otherwise, it is better not to risk the journey.

The sea lane from Borneo to the Philippines is frequently used by ships carrying coal from Tarakan in Borneo Island to the Philippines.

Fourteen Indonesian seamen were abducted off the coast of the Philippines in recent weeks.

The Abu Sayyaf militant network has demanded 50 million pesos (1.1 million USD) to free the hostages. However, the Indonesian Government has said it does not intend to pay the ransom.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said that he is to hold regional talks with military chiefs and foreign ministers from Malaysia and the Philippines to boost marine security.

Since taking office in 2014, President Widodo has placed maritime security high on his government's agenda.

Indonesia has voiced fears that a surge in piracy in the waters between Indonesia and the Philippines could reach Somalian levels and has told vessels to avoid dangerous areas.-VNA