During 1-7 Mar 22, four incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported to the ReCAAP ISC, comprising three CAT 31 incidents and one CAT 42 incident, reports Safety4Sea.
The four incidents
All four incidents occurred to ships while underway off Nongsa Point, Batam Island (Indonesia), in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait (SS).
Of the four incidents, three incidents occurred on 2 Mar and one incident on 4 Mar. The crew was safe and nothing was stolen in all four incidents.
- The first incident on 2 Mar occurred to a bulk carrier. Three unauthorised persons armed with axe and rods were sighted at the emergency generator room. The ship’s alarm was raised and crew mustered. The perpetrators escaped upon being sighted. A search on board the ship was carried out with no further sighting of the perpetrators.
- The second incident on 2 Mar occurred to a bulk carrier. Four unauthorised persons armed with knives were sighted in the engine room. The ship’s alarm was raised and crew mustered. The master deviated the ship back to Singapore. A search on board the ship was conducted by the Singapore Police Coast Guard, with no further sighting of the perpetrators.
- The third incident on 2 Mar occurred to a tanker. Six unauthorised persons were sighted in the engine room, and one of them was armed with a lookalike gun. The ship’s alarm was raised and crew mustered. A search on board the ship was conducted with no further sighting of the perpetrators.
- The fourth incident occurred on 4 Mar to a bulk carrier. Five unauthorised persons were sighted at the starboard quarter stern deck. The perpetrators escaped upon being sighted. The ship’s alarm was raised and ship’s deck lights were switched on. A search on board the ship was carried out with no further sighting on the perpetrators onboard.
Total incidents in 2022 till date
With these four incidents, a total of 17 incidents were reported in the SS since January 2022, comprising 13 incidents in the eastbound lane of the TSS, two incidents in the precautionary area, one incident in the westbound lane and one incident outside the TSS.
The locations of the four incidents are shown in map below and detailed description of the incidents tabulated in the attachment.
The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the persistent occurrence of incidents in the SS, particularly the increase of incidents off Pulau Nongsa, Batam Island (Indonesia)
There is no incident of abduction of crew reported since the last incident in January 2020 up to today, and no crew is currently being held in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Intensify military operations
The Philippine and Malaysian authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations and intensify military operations to neutralise the ASG. In 2021, the operations carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines had resulted in the neutralisation of some ASG subleaders and members.
The ReCAAP ISC reiterates its advisory to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report all incidents immediately to the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.
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