Two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia (both CAT 41 incidents) were reported to ReCAAP ISC, from 3-9 January 2023.
he incidents occurred on board barges that were towed by tug boats while underway in the Singapore Strait. Scrap metals were stolen from the barges in both incidents, and the crew members were not injured.
The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait. These incidents were the first two incidents reported in the Singapore Strait in 2023 as of now.
The Centre advises ships to continue to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting the Singapore Strait; and the littoral States to increase patrols and enforcement in the area.
Downgrading of threat level
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), after careful consideration of inputs from stakeholders and counterparts with vital involvement in securing the Sulu-Celebes Seas maritime security measure, recommends the downgrading of the threat on the ‘Abduction of Crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas’ from ‘POTENTIALLY HIGH’ to ‘MODERATE’. The MODERATE threat level implies that ‘Incidents are possible to occur but are relatively less severe in nature’.
As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas has diminished since January 2020 due to successful military operations and robust law enforcement initiatives, the ReCAAP ISC updates its Advisory to all ships to consider re-route from the area as an option based on its prerogative.
For ships transiting the area, the ship masters and crew are strongly encouraged to exercise extra vigilance and report all incidents immediately to the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.
Ship master and crew are to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt appropriate preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide 2 to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.