Two incidents (one CAT 2 incident and one CAT 3 incident) of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported to ReCAAP ISC, between 30 May – 5 June 2023.
he incidents occurred on 29 May and 3 Jun, on board bulk carriers while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Singapore Strait (SS). In both incidents, the perpetrators were armed. In the incident on 29 May, the perpetrators tied up the chief engineer who managed to free himself and reported incident to the bridge. The perpetrators took his watch and mobile phone; and some generator spare parts. Nothing was stolen in the other incident. The crew were safe in both incidents.
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 31 incidents were reported in the SOMS since January 2023. Of these, 30 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.