Of these, one was a piracy incident and three were armed robberies against ships.

The first incident involved the container ship 'MS Eagle' in the Philippines. While the ship was anchored in Manila South Harbour, the duty roving watch spotted three perpetrators climbing down through the anchor chain of the ship. He ordered them to stop but the perpetrators immediately jumped into the water and escaped towards an unknown direction on board an unmarked motor banca. The crew was mustered; and an inventory and inspection of ship's property and equipment was conducted.

The second incident was reported on the chemical tanker 'Singapore' on 28 October, in South China Sea. While at anchor, the duty officer discovered a hook with a rope secured on the ship’s railing at the starboard quarter and a small boat hiding beneath the curvature. When the duty officer unhooked the rope and the boat was drifting away, five perpetrators of average height and in black tight water suits shouted and scared the duty officer with long knives from the poop deck.

The duty officer immediately ran away and reported to the bridge using a portable radio. The emergency alarm was raised and an announcement was made through the PA system. The master reported incident to the Navy on patrol. The crew was not injured and nothing was stolen.

The third ship attacked this week was the tanker 'Panama' off Batam, Indonesia. While sailing, five perpetrators armed with knives boarded the ship, tied up the ship duty oiler in the engine room and took away some engine spare parts. They escaped in a small boat at the starboard stern of the ship. The boat was seen heading towards the southerly direction. The master raised the alarm and reported the incident to the Singapore VTIS. The crew was not injured. The ship resumed her voyage for the next port of call in China. Engine spares were stolen. 

The fourth incident was an attempted incident against 'HR Endeavour' general cargo ship, North West of Pulau Cula, Indonesia. While sailing, the crew sighted three to four perpetrators on board a small wooden craft coming alongside the stern of the ship. Upon sighted by the crew, the small craft headed in the southern direction. The master raised the alarm and reported the attempted boarding to the Singapore VTIS via VHF. 

Location of the incidents

The ReCAAP ISC urges ship masters and crews 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 taking reference from the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

It also advises all ships to re-route from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the Sulu-Celebes Sea and eastern Sabah region.