The remains of the two sailors, who were kidnapped from the Vietnam-registered bulk carrier, MV Royal 16, were found on Basilan island, southern Philippines

The bodies of two Vietnamese sailors have been found beheaded on the island of Basilan island in the southern Philippines.

The grim discovery was made early Wednesday morning by troops serving with the Philippine military.

It comes just days after the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) revealed that maritime piracy and armed robbery against crews on board ship have fallen between January and June 2017 compared to the same period last year.

It is believed the two men – who have been identified as Hoang Trung Thong and Hoang Va Hai – were executed by members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

A map showing the southern Philippines

This is the same terrorist group which is responsible for the murder German sailor, Jurgen Kantner and his wife, Sabine Merz.

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Kantner, 70, was beheaded in February after a demand for a $600,000 ransom was not met. He was kidnapped from his yacht, Rockall while the couple was sailing in the Tawi-Tawi province of the Philippines.

Merz was found shot on the yacht.

The Abu Sayyaf Group is known to operate on Basilan island.

Hoang Trung Thong and Hoang Va Hai are thought to be among the six crew members on board MV Royal 16 who were kidnapped by the terrorist group in November 2016.

The attack, which left two other crew members injured, happened off Sibago Island.

One of the hostages were rescued by Philippine government troops in June at in Sumipsip, Basilan, Philippines.

It is believed that the remaining three crew are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf militants, who are notorious for kidnapping for ransom, and for attacks on civilians and the army.