Five incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia (three CAT 3 and two CAT 4 incidents) were reported to ReCAAP ISC, between 6 – 12 June 2023.
our incidents (three CAT 3 incidents and one CAT 4 incident) occurred on board bulk carriers while underway in the Singapore Strait (SS), and one incident
(CAT 4) occurred on board a container ship while anchored at MICT anchorage area, Manila, the Philippines. The crew members were not injured in all the five incidents. One welding machine and two fire nozzles were stolen in one incident, engine spares in another incident, and nothing was stolen in the other three incidents.
Area of concern
With the four incidents reported to the Centre during 6-12 Jun 23, a total of 35 incidents were reported in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) since January 2023. Of these, 34 incidents occurred in the SS, and one incident in the Malacca Strait (MS). The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the SOMS, and has published an Incident Alert 02/2023 on 13 Jun 23 to alert the maritime community. All ships are advised to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting SOMS; 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, referring to the Poster on the Contact Details for Reporting of Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, exercise vigilance and adopt appropriate preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide 2 to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.