Philippine anchorages and ports saw an increase in the number of incidents of sea robbery from January to September 2020, the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre said in a special report.
During the nine-month period, thirteen actual incidents were reported in the Philippines. Of these, nine incidents occurred at Manila anchorage, three at Batangas and one incident at General Santos Harbour anchorage.
Containerships were mostly boarded at the anchorage area of Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the largest container terminal in the country, while at Batangas, tankers were boarded since several of the country’s gas and oil depots are located there.
The number of incidents reported in the Philippines almost doubled in the first nine months of 2020, compared to entire 2019 which saw only seven incidents.
According to ReCAAP, the rise in incidents in Manila anchorage areas from January to September this year is due to the fact that more ships have been anchored in the area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manila Bay area has been designated as a Green Zone for crew change by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“The large number of ships anchored in the area provides opportunities for perpetrators to come alongside in small boats during hours of darkness to commit robbery/theft from the ships,” ReCAAP explained.
On the other hand, only three incidents were reported at anchorages in Batangas during Jan-Sept 2020, representing a year-over-year decrease when compared to four incidents in the entire year of 2019.
“Of concern was the violence demonstrated by the perpetrators towards the crew in two of the three incidents reported during Jan-Sep 2020. The incidents occurred at Bauan Batangas Terminal Inc. on 14 Aug 2020, and at Batangas Bay anchorage area on 20 Aug 2020,” ReCAAP added.
A total of 102 incidents — comprising 92 actual and 10 attempted incidents — were recorded at anchorages/ports in the Philippines during a 13-year period between 2007 and 2019 and Jan-Sep 2020. Of the 102 incidents, 52 incidents occurred at Manila anchorages (51%), 29 incidents at Batangas (28%) and 21 incidents at other anchorage (21%).