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Noticias de interés

2018 Marks Lowest Level of Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia in Over a Decade

Fecha de la noticias: 09/06/2018 • Publicada: 09/06/2018 


A total of eight incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in May 2018. No piracy incident was reported. There was also no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo.

MAY 2018

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
In May 2018, a total of eight incidents (comprising of six actual incidents and two attempted incidents) of armed robbery against ships were reported. All incidents have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points and regional authorities. Refer to the Appendix on pages 16 –18 for the description of these incidents. Compared to April 2018, the number of incidents reported in May 2018 has remained fairly consistent. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from May 2017 to May 2018.

STATUS OF SHIPS
Of the eight incidents reported in May 2018, two incidents occurred on board ships while underway and six incidents on board ship at anchor.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the six actual incidents reported in May 2018, one was a CAT 2 incident, one was a CAT 3 incident and four were CAT 4 incidents. There was no CAT 1 incident and majority of the incidents were CAT 4 (petty theft cases). Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in May of 2009 – 2018.

JANUARY-MAY 2018

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
A total of 37 incidents were reported during January-May 2018 comprising 27 actual incidents and 10 attempted incidents. The number of actual incidents reported during January-May 2018 was the lowest during the 10-year reporting period. Graph 2 shows the number of incidents reported during January-May of 2009-2018. Compared to January-May 2017, the number of incidents reported during January-May 2018 remained fairly consistent. A total of 38 incidents comprising 31 actual and seven attempted incidents were reported during January-May 2017.

Compared to January-May 2017, there was a decrease in the number of incidents at ports/ anchorages in the Philippines and in the Sulu-Celebes Seas during January-May 2018. A total of six incidents were reported at ports/anchorages in Philippines (five at Batangas and one at Zamboanga) during January-May 2017 compared to one incident reported at the South Harbour Anchorage, Manila during the same period in 2018. There was also a significant reduction in incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas during January-May 2018. Seven incidents (comprising three actual and four attempted incidents) were reported during January-May 2017 compared to one attempted incident during January-May 2018.

Notably, about one-third of the total number of incidents reported during January-May 2018 were attempted incidents. This indicates that ship master/crew and law enforcement agencies were relatively more successful in preventing boarding by perpetrators, likely as a result of factors such as timely reporting and vigilance of ship master/crew and immediate responses by the enforcement agencies.

Of the 10 attempted incidents reported during January-May 2018, four incidents occurred to ships while underway (in Straits of Malacca and Singapore, South China Sea and Sulu-Celebes Seas); and six incidents on board ships anchored/berthed at ports and anchorages (at Muara Berau Anchorage in Samarinda, Indonesia; Chittagong in Bangladesh, and Kolkata in India).

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the 27 actual incidents reported during January-May 2018, one was a CAT 2 incident, eight were CAT 3 incidents and 18 were CAT 4 incidents. Chart 2 shows the significance level of incidents reported during January-May of 2009-2018.

There was no CAT 1 incident reported during January-May 2018 compared to the same period of 2009-2017 (except 2013). The number of CAT 2 incidents was also the lowest during January-May of 2018.

SITUATION IN THE STRAITS OF MALACCA AND SINGAPORE (SOMS)
There has been an increase in the number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) during January-May 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. A total of five incidents (comprising three actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported during January- May 2018 compared to two incidents (comprising one actual incident and one attempted incident) reported during the same period in 2017.

Of the five incidents reported during January-May 2018, three incidents occurred within the period of one month (April – May 2018). They occurred on 21 Apr 18 (bulk carrier, Katerina), 19 May 18 (tanker, Front Ull) and 19 May 18 (tug boat Budget 19 towing barge, Budget 29); after two unsuccessful boarding reported in January 2018. The unsuccessful boarding occurred on 3 Jan 18 (bulk carrier, Tiberius) and 18 Jan 18 (workboat, Marineco Toomai).

The ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance while underway in the SOMS particularly during hours of darkness and make timely report of all incidents to the nearest coastal State. On the part of the authorities, the relevant enforcement agency is encouraged to beef up surveillance and render assistance promptly to reports made by victim ships.

SITUATION IN INDONESIA
A total of 17 incidents (comprising of 15 actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported in Indonesia during January-May 2018 compared to 13 incidents (comprising 11 actual incidents and two attempted incidents) during the same period in 2017.

Most of the incidents reported during January-May 2018 occurred at Muara Berau Anchorage in East Kalimantan. Of the 17 incidents, eight incidents were reported at Muara Berau Anchorage, Samarinda in East Kalimantan, three off Pulau Batam, two in Panjang/Tarahan Anchorage, and one each at Taboneo Anchorage in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Tg Priok Anchorage in Jakarta, Tg Uban Anchorage in Pualu Bintan and Merak Anchorage in Java. The location of the incidents is shown in Map 3.

During January-May 2017, 13 incidents were reported with five occurred in Dumai Anchorage, four in Muara Berau Anchorage, one each in Taboneo Anchorage, Tg Priok Anchorage, off Pulau Batam and Merak Anchorage. The ReCAAP ISC commends the improvement at Dumai Anchorage during January-May 2018 with no report of incident since January 2018.

SITUATION ON ABDUCTION OF CREW FROM SHIPS IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS AND WATERS OFF EASTERN SABAH
There was no report of actual or attempted incident of abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah in May 2018. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on 23 Mar 17; and the last attempted incident occurred on board Kudos 1 on 16 Feb 18. As of 31 May 18, nine crew is still held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralise the militant group.

On 1 May 18, the ReCAAP ISC received information from the Philippine Coast Guard (ReCAAP Focal Point) about a planned kidnapping by members of the Abu Sayyaf Group. The information stated that the group would be using a blue 3-engine speed boat and expected to be underway to Sabah within the next 24 hours. Upon receipt of the information, the ReCAAP ISC issued a Warning to advise ships to exercise extreme caution when transiting in the waters in Lahad Datu, Sabah and surrounding waters in Sabah.

As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas is not totally eradicated, the ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to all ships to re-route from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas and eastern Sabah region, and report immediately to the following Centres:

1. Philippine Coast Guard District
Southwestern Mindanao
Operation Centre
Tel: +63 929686 4129
Tel: +63 929686 0689
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ENVY”
Email: hcgdswm@yahoo.com

2. Navy – Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS)
Bongao, TawiTawi
Tel: +63 917774 2293
VHF: Channel 16
Email: jointtaskgrouptt@gmail.com

3. Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM)
Tel: +60 89863181/016
Fax: +60 898631812
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ESSCOM”
Email: bilikgerakanesscom@jpm.gov.my

CONCLUSION
The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January-May 2018 remained fairly consistent compared to the same period in 2017. A total of 37 incidents (comprising 27 actual and 10 attempted incidents) were reported during January-May 2018 compared to 38 incidents (comprising 31 actual and seven attempted incidents) reported during January-May 2017. The number of actual incidents reported during January- May 2018 was the lowest during the 10-year reporting period (January-May of 2009-2018). There was no abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo in May 2018.

However, of concern is the continued occurrence of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS). Two incidents (both CAT 4) were reported on 19 May 18, bringing the total number of incidents in SOMS to five during January-May 2018 compared to two incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

The ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for port authorities to maintain enhanced port security measures, and advises ships transiting areas of concern to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain look-out for suspicious boats, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately, and implement preventive measures recommended in the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

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