Three incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia, comprising of one CAT 31 incident and two CAT 42 incidents, were reported to ReCAAP ISC, from 25 to 31 January 2023.
The CAT 3 incident occurred on board a bulk carrier while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.
Of the two CAT 4 incidents, one incident occurred on board a tanker while anchored at Balongan Anchorage, Indonesia and the other incident on board a bulk carrier while anchored at Panjang Port, Indonesia.
The crew members were not injured in all three incidents; and nothing was reported stolen.
The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait. A total of four incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait in 2023 as of now
The Centre further advised 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’.
Update of ReCAAP ISC Advisory
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 masters 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.
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