Two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia (one CAT 3 incident and one CAT 4 incident) were reported to ReCAAP ISC, between 11 – 17 April.
he CAT 3 incident occurred on board a container ship while anchored at MICT, Anchorage Area, Manila, the Philippines. One crew was threatened with a metal bar; and his hands were tied by the perpetrators. Several items including breathing apparatus and flashlights were stolen. The CAT 4 incident occurred on board a tanker while underway in the Singapore Strait (SS). In this incident, the crew members were safe and nothing was stolen.
Area of concern
The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS). With this incident, a total of 23 incidents were reported in the SOMS since January 2023. Of these, 22 incidents occurred in the SS, and one incident in the Malacca Strait (MS). The Centre advises ships to continue 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.