ReCAAP ISC published its August report for piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, informing that a total of 6 incidents of armed robbery took place, and no piracy incident.
n August 2022, six incidents of armed robbery against ships (occurred in internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial seas) were reported in Asia. No incident of piracy (occurred on high seas) was reported.
With the six incidents, a total of 58 incidents were reported in Asia during January-August 2022. All were armed robbery against ships.
The situation of armed robbery against ships in the Singapore Strait (SS) continues to be an area of concern. It accounts for 66% of the total number of incidents reported in Asia during January-August 2022 (38 of 58 incidents)
said ReCAAP ISC.
In addition, there was no incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in August 2022. The last known incident occurred on 17 January 2020.
The threat of abduction of crew, however, remains potentially high due to the presence of remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the area of Sulu and nearby waters off Tawi-Tawi.
Status of ships
Of the six incidents reported in August 2022, four incidents occurred on board ships while underway and two incidents occurred on board ships while anchored.
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.
All six incidents in August 2022 were actual incidents (comprising two CAT 3 incidents and four CAT 4 incidents).
- CAT 3: Of the two incidents, one occurred in the SS and the other at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia. In the incident in SS, the perpetrators were armed with hammer, knife and metal rod, while in the incident at Belawan Anchorage, the perpetrators were armed with knives. In both incidents, the perpetrators escaped when the crew was alerted. All crew members were safe with no injuries. Ship stores including cable for welding machine, fire hydrant cap and air pipe cover were stolen in the incident at Belawan Anchorage, while nothing was stolen in the incident in SS.
- CAT 4: Of the four incidents, three occurred in the SS and one occurred at Sandakan Anchorage, Sabah, East Malaysia. The three incidents in the SS occurred on board barges and a supply vessel towed by tug boats. Scrap metal was stolen from the barges and ship stores was stolen from the supply vessel. The incident at Sandakan Anchorage occurred on board a chemical tanker, where the perpetrators stole ropes on deck and escaped when the ship alarm was sounded. All crew members were safe with no injuries.
A total of four incidents were reported in the SS in August 2022. All were actual incidents. Of the four incidents, two occurred in the precautionary area of TSS, one in the eastbound lane and one in the separation zone.
- 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.