Even hot water can come in handy sometimes. A crew of Filipino sailors would know about it better than anyone else as they repelled a pirate attack using boiling water.

The cargo vessel MV Kudos came under a seajacking attempt by suspected Abu Sayyaf Islamists when it was sailing in Basilan waters, infested with pirates. At least a dozen militants in motorboats were attacking the ship.

The quick-thinking crew members poured boiling water on the attackers when they attempted to board the distressed vessel, providing the ship with some more time until assistance arrived. Unable to climb on to the cargo ship, the frustrated pirates fired shots at the ship causing minor damages. A few crew members suffered not-so-serious injuries.

The Philippines military has lauded the efforts of the crew and pledged to intensify anti-pirate efforts in the region. It said fresh security measures will be put in place in the Sulu Sea so as to protect both domestic and foreign ships sailing in the waters, according to local media.

"We were pleased that the crew did not lose their presence of mind. Their raw courage enabled them to pour hot water to the pirates who were already attempting to climb the vessel," said Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command.

"Their action was also instrumental in foiling the seajacking attempt," added Galvez.

The naval command unit received a distress call from the ship late on Friday (16 February), seeking immediate support to manage a pirate attack.

Five naval vessels were swiftly deployed to the area under the Anti-Kidnapping Joint Task Force and two more ships were additionally dispatched later. Two aircraft were also scrambled to provide aerial assistance.

"We immediately alerted all units and deployed our assets to thwart the attack on MV Kudos on Sibago. Sensing that the crew of their target vessel could have sent a distress call to government security forces, the pirates scampered away before the former swooped down on them," said Rear Admiral Rene Medina, who was spearheading the operations.

The Islamist group Abu Sayyaf is active in the southern parts of the Philippines and is notorious for abducting foreign nationals for ransom.

Philippines army abu sayyaf clashes
Filipino troops carry dead bodies wrapped in cloths and tied to bamboo poles after a military operation against Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province, southern Philippines in this file photo Reuters