Increased Security Urged for Vessels at Callao Anchorage

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On 29 September 2023, a vessel was boarded by thieves while at anchor in Callao, Peru. The perpetrators tied up the duty crew and shore watchmen on routine rounds. They held them at knifepoint, before escaping with the ship’s stores, according to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center (IMB PRC). This was not the only incident in this port in 2023 with violence towards the crew, reports Grad.

Preventive measures

A total of 14 incidents involving vessels at Callao Anchorage was recorded by the IMB PRC in in 2023, with seven crew members taken hostage and one each assaulted and threatened. In 2022, five crew members were taken hostage and one was assaulted in some 12 incidents. The majority of incidents in this port have occurred during the hours of darkness when the vessel was anchored. While bulk carriers appear to be the most frequent targets, tankers, container vessels, general cargo vessels, and vehicle carriers have also been attacked during port calls in Peru.

Even if the IMB PRC has not reported any occurrences of piracy or armed robbery at Callao Anchorage, Peru during the first months of 2024, and its incident records showed a welcome decline in 2022, last year’s worrying trend serves as a reminder to ship’s crew to keep a careful watch and anti-piracy measures in place while in this port.

When alongside at port or anchorage, or during STS/bunkering operations, equipment such as fenders, anchor chains, and hawse pipes should be physically blocked as they can provide a point of access for perpetrators. Regular security rounds should be conducted, and particular attention paid to suspicious small boats passing close to the ship or loitering in the vicinity. Since the perpetrators often board ships during the hours of darkness, it may be useful to increase the deck watch at night and leave lights on. A well-lit ship is less vulnerable to attacks.

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Source: Grad