ACCORDING to the latest report from ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre on piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, a total of nine incidents were reported in April 2020. Of the nine incidents, one was a piracy incident and eight were incidents of armed robbery against ships.
Of the nine incidents reported, five incidents occurred on board ships when at anchor and four incidents on board ships while underway.
Of the two CAT 3 incidents, one incident occurred onboard a container ship anchored at Manila International Container Terminal Breakwater, Philippines, and one incident onboard a bulk carrier while underway in the Singapore Strait. In both incidents, the perpetrators were armed with knives, and the crew was not injured.
Four of the seven CAT 4 incidents occurred onboard ships while at anchor (off Alang Anchorage, India, at Taboneo Anchorage, Indonesia, off Tanjung Kelesa, Johor, Malaysia and at Vung Tau Anchorage, Vietnam). The other three CAT 4 incidents occurred onboard ships while underway (two incidents in the Singapore Strait and one incident in the South China Sea).
There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in the month of April. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern.
ReCAAP ISC is also concerned about the continued occurrence of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait. With three incidents reported in April 2020, a total of 12 incidents have been reported in the Singapore Strait since January. Of the 12 incidents, 11 incidents occurred in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme and one incident in the precautionary area in the Singapore Strait.
ReCAAP ISC has issued an Incident Alert (IA/04/2020) on 30 Apr 2020 on the three incidents which occurred during 16-30 April to ships while underway in the Singapore Strait.
On a month-to-month comparison, the number of total incidents reported in April 2020 is lower than the monthly number of incidents in 2020, except for the preceding month of March.
While transiting the Singapore Strait, ship masters and crew are strongly advised to take the following measures:
• Maximise alertness of lookouts for suspicious small boats and increase watch keeping; particularly daylight time for barges and during night time for bigger ships.
• Maintain communication with company by providing periodic updates and establish daily communication checks.
• Report all incidents, suspicious activities and presence of suspicious small boats in the vicinity to the nearest coastal state and flag state.
• Sound alarm when suspicious boats are sighted loitering in the vicinity of the ship or barge or suspicious individuals on board the ship or barge.
• Keep abreast of the latest situation (www.recaap.org) and tune-in to advisories and navigational broadcast announced by the authorities.