ReCAAP ISC Reports 5 Armed Robbery in October

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In October 2022, five incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia, reports Safety4sea.

No incident of piracy was reported. With the five incidents, a total of 68 incidents were reported in Asia during January-October 2022. The situation in the Singapore Strait (SS) is of concern, with reports of 44 incidents, account for 65% (44 of 68 incidents) of the total number of incidents in Asia during January-October 2022.

There was no incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in October 2022. The last known incident occurred on 17 January 20.

As the threat of abduction of crew has diminished, the Philippine Coast Guard recommends downgrading the threat from ‘potentially high’ to ‘moderate’ which implies that ‘incidents are possible to occur but are relatively less severe in nature’. The ReCAAP ISC has accordingly updated its Advisory to all ships to consider re-route from the area as an option.

Significance levels of incidents

To provide a qualitative perspective of the incidents, the ReCAAP ISC classifies each actual incident into one of the four categories to determine its overall significance level (CAT 1, CAT 2, CAT 3 and CAT 4). Refer to the Appendix on ‘Methodology in classifying incidents’ for the description of each category.

CAT 3: The incident occurred at Kandla Anchorage, India. About five to six perpetrators, armed with knives and metal rods boarded a tanker while anchored at Kandla Anchorage, India. The perpetrators escaped when the crew was alerted. The crew members were not injured. Ship stores were stolen.

CAT 4: Of the four incidents, three incidents occurred in the Singapore Strait (SS) and one incident occurred at Panjang Anchorage, Indonesia. The three incidents in the SS occurred on board bulk carriers. Nothing was reported stolen, and the crew was not injured. The incident at Panjang Anchorage occurred on board a general cargo ship, where the perpetrators stole engine spares and escaped when the ship alarm was sounded.

Armed robbery

A total of three incidents were reported in the SS in October 2022. All were actual incidents. Of the three incidents, one incident occurred in the precautionary area of the TSS in the SS, and two incidents in the eastbound lane of the TSS.

A total of 44 incidents (comprising 43 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in the SS during January-October 2022.

January – October 2022

During January-October 2022, a total of 68 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia during January-October 2022. Of these, one was an incident of piracy that occurred on 9 September 22; and 67 were incidents of armed robbery against ships.

Of the 68 incidents, 65 were actual incidents and three were attempted incidents. Compared to the same period in 2021, the total number of incidents has increased by 6%. A total of 64 incidents were reported during January-October 2021.

The decrease of incidents during January-October 2022 as compared to January-October 2021 occurred in the following locations:

  • In the Philippines, four incidents were reported during January-October 2022 compared to 11 incidents during the same period in 2021.
  • In Vietnam, no incident was reported during January-October 2022 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2021.

However, there was an increase of incidents in the following locations:

  • In the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), 44 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait (SS) during January-October 2022 compared to 36 incidents (35 incidents in the SS and one incident in the Malacca Strait) during the same period in 2021.
  • In Bangladesh, four incidents were reported during January-October 2022 compared to no incident during the same period in 2021.
  • In the South China Sea, one incident was reported during January-October 2022 compared to no incident reported during the same period in 2021.

Recommendations

  • Keep abreast of the latest situation particularly the incident-prone areas in the SS. The ReCAAP ISC’s reports indicate detailed locations of incidents with latitude and longitude.
  • Tune-in to advisories and navigational broadcasts announced by the authorities.
  • Maximise vigilance, lookouts for suspicious small boats and increase watch keeping; particularly for crew on board tug boats towing barges during daylight, and for crew on board bigger ships during night time.
  • Keep the CCTV and other devices including communication equipment operational to alert the ship crew and record the movement of perpetrators.
  • Close all doors and hatches having direct access to the bridge, accommodation, store rooms, steering gear compartment and engine room.
  • Maintain communication with their shipping company by providing periodic updates and establish daily communication checks.
  • Report all incidents, suspicious activities and presence of suspicious small boats in the vicinity to the nearest coastal State and flag State.
  • Sound alarm when suspicious boats are sighted loitering in the vicinity of the ship or barge or suspicious individuals are sighted on board the ship or barge.

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Source: Safety4sea

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