Asia records 4 robbery against ships in May

Asia records 57 piracy incidents in eight months 


The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre said it recorded four incidents of armed robbery against ships in May.

It said no piracy incident was reported during the month.

The ReCAAP ISC, however, said it is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait.

“In May 2021, three incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

“There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in May 2021.

“However, the threat of abduction of crew remains high, with information such as the operation on 3 Nov 20 by the Philippine authorities in preventing a kidnap-for-ransom plan by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the escape of one of the ASG Commanders responsible for the abduction of crew in Sulu area during a military operation on 23 Apr 21 (page 10 of this report),” the ReCAAP ISC said.

Of the three actual incidents reported in May 2021, it said one was a CAT 3 incident and two were CAT 4 incidents (where the perpetrators were not armed and crew not harmed).

The CAT 3 incident occurred on board a bulk carrier while underway in the Singapore Strait. Four perpetrators boarded the ship and were sighted in the engine room by the duty oiler. One of the perpetrators threatened the duty oiler with a knife but did not harm him.

The perpetrators escaped without stealing anything.

Of the two CAT 4 incidents, one incident occurred on board a bulk carrier while underway in the Singapore Strait and the other incident occurred on board a dead ship towed by a tug boat while underway off Diu, India. In the incident in the Singapore Strait, engine gaskets and O-rings were stolen. For the incident off India, the exact items stolen from the dead ship are not confirmed yet.

CAT 3 incidents, as categorised by ReCAAP involves attack by one to six people. The perpetrators are sometimes armed, but the crew does not usually suffer from physical violence. In most cases, the perpetrators are unable to steal anything from the ship or cargo.

CAT 4 incidents are less severe. It involves around one to three attackers. The perpetrators are not armed, and the crew are not harmed. Perpetrators escape empty-handed.