4 Armed Robberies in a Week in Asia

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During 13 – 19 August 2019, four CAT 41 incidents of armed robbery against ship were reported to the ReCAAP ISC. The four incidents took place on 31 July 19 at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia; 9 August 19 northeast of Pulau Bintan, Indonesia; 12 August 19 at Phuoc Long Mooring Buoy No 3, Vietnam; and 15 August 19 southeast of Tanjung Piai, Johor, Malaysia, says an article published in Safety4Sea.

The Series of Armed Robberies

Case 1, Belawan Robbery: More specifically, the bulk carrier ‘Strategic Unity’ was at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia. While at anchor, two perpetrators boarded the ship from the port side anchor chain by removing the hawse pipe.

The crew found them hiding in the forecastle and raised the alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the perpetrators escaped in a small speed boat. Nothing was stolen from the ship. The crew secured back the hawse pipe cover plate with additional wire slings. No one was injured, while nothing was stolen as well.

Case 2, Crystal Auriga Robbery: In the second case, the tug boat ‘Crystal Auriga’ and the barge ‘Crystal 128’ were approximately 14 nm northeast of Pulau Bintan, Indonesia (South China Sea). While anchored off Pulau Bintan, the barge was boarded by an unknown number of perpetrators on 9 Aug 19. They stole some mattress protectors from a container on the barge.

The master discovered that the items on board the barge were missing upon arrival at Crystal Offshore Yard, Singapore on 10 August. He immediately reported the incident to Singapore Port Operation Control Centre (POCC) and Singapore Police Coast Guard. The crew was not injured.

Case 3, Vietnam Robbery: For the third case, the container ship ‘Kota Waris’ was at Phuoc Long Mooring Buoy No. 3, Vietnam. While at anchor, two perpetrators in black mask boarded the ship through the port quarter deck from a wooden boat. They were trying to open the entrance door of the steering gear room. The duty A/B discovered them when he was carrying out deck safety and security round. He reported the incident to the duty officer and raised the general alarm. The perpetrators jumped into water and escaped in a wooden boat. The crew was not injured and nothing was stolen.

Case 4, Johor Robbery: In the final incident, the tug boat ‘Kien San 1’ and the barge ‘Kien San 8’ were about 3.8 nm southeast of Tanjung Piai, Johor, Malaysia in the westbound lane of the TSS in the Singapore Strait. While underway, three perpetrators from two small boats boarded the barge and stole some scrap metal. The master raised the alarm and reported the incident to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF.

The perpetrators disembarked the barge with some scrap metal. The crew was not injured and the tug boat and barge resumed their passage westbound.

Safety Recommendation

The ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt relevant preventive measures, ReCAAP ISC recommended. 

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Source: Safety4Sea

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