Key figures - April 2019

  • A total of three incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in April 2019
  • There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in April 2019
  • However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern
  • Of the three incidents reported in April 2019, two incidents occurred on board tug boats while on towing operations in the Singapore Strait, and one incident on board a tanker anchored at Visakhapatnam SPM anchorage, India
  • All three incidents reported in April 2019 were CAT 4 incidents
  • Compared to April 2018, there was a 70% decrease in the number of incidents reported in April 2019
  • A total of 10 incidents were reported in April 2018 compared to three incidents in April 2019
  • The total number of incidents has remained fairly constant between three to four incidents for the past six months (November 2018 to April 2019)

January - April 2019

  • During January-April 2019, a total of 13 incidents (12 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia.
  • All were incidents of armed robbery against ships. No incident of piracy was reported.
  • The total number of incidents of armed robbery against ships reported during January-April 2019 decreased by 58% compared to January-April 2018. A total of 31 incidents (22 actual incidents and nine attempted incidents) were reported during January-April 2018.
  • The number of actual incidents has also decreased by 45%.
  • The 12 actual incidents reported during January-April 2019 were less severe incidents with one CAT 3 incident and 11 CAT 4 incidents.
  • The improvement was most apparent at the ports and anchorages in Indonesia where three incidents were reported during January-April 2019 compared to 14 incidents during the same period in 2018.
  • No incidents were reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Vietnam during January-April 2019 compared to four incidents reported in Bangladesh and two incidents in Vietnam during January-April 2018.
  • Both the total number of incidents and the number of actual incidents reported during January-April 2019 are the lowest among the 13-year period of January-April of 2007-2019.

Incidents in the Singapore Strait

  • During January-April 2019, four incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in close proximity to each other in the western sector of the Singapore Strait
  • The incidents occurred when the ships while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS)
  • Of the four incidents, two incidents reported loss of scrap metal and nothing was reported stolen in the other two incidents

With the occurrence of four incidents in close proximity to each other within a period of three months, the ReCAAP ISC recommends that all ships, particularly tug boats to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting the area, and the law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance and increase patrols.

The ReCAAP ISC urges law enforcement agencies to continue to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to reports of incidents. Ships transiting areas of concern are to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain all round lookout for suspicious boats, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately, and implement preventive measures recommended in the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia

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