Three incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia, one CAT 21 and two CAT 42, were reported to ReCAAP ISC, between 1-6 February 2023.
All three incidents occurred on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait on 1 February, 3 February, and 4 February.
Scrap metal was stolen from the barge on tow in one incident, auxiliary engine parts were stolen from a bulk carrier in the second incident, and nothing was stolen in the third incident. In one of the incidents, the duty oiler was tied, while the crew was not injured in the other two incidents.
With the three incidents reported during this period, a total of seven incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait since January 2023. 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 of 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 masters 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.
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