The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) said a total of three incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia n April 2019.
It however said that there was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported during the month.
“However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern,” ReCAAP ISC said in a press sent to SHIPS & PORTS on Friday.
It said that compared to April 2018, there was a 70% decrease in the number of incidents reported in April 2019.
“While a total of 10 incidents were reported in April 2018 compared to three incidents in April 2019.
“The total number of incidents has remained fairly constant between three to four incidents for the past six months (November 2018 to April 2019,” it said.
ReCAAP ISC said of the three incidents reported in April 2019, two occurred on board tug boats while on towing operations in the Singapore Strait, and one incident on board a tanker anchored at Visakhapatnam SPM anchorage, India.
It said the three incidents reported in April 2019 were CAT 4 incidents.
“During January-April 2019, four incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in close proximity to each other in the western sector of the Singapore Strait.
“The incidents occurred when the ships while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).
“Of the four incidents, two incidents reported loss of scrap metal and nothing was reported stolen in the other two incidents.
“As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah remains, ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible.
“Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia,” ReCAAP ISC said in the statement issued by it’s Assistant Director of Corporate Communication, David Lee.