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ReCAAP ISC October 2018 Report

A total of six incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in October 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 reported in October 2018. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern. The ReCAAP ISC has issued a Warning on 30 Oct 18 alerting the shipping industry about a group of about 10 ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) members planning to conduct kidnapping activities at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah targeting businessmen or ship’s crew of foreign vessels passing through the area.

OCTOBER 2018
NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
In October 2018, a total of six incidents (all actual incidents) of armed robbery against ships were reported. All incidents have been verified and reported to ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points, Contact Point and regional authorities. No piracy incident was reported during October 2018. Refer to the Appendix on pages 15-16 for the description of these incidents. Compared to the preceding month of September 2018, the number of incidents reported in October 2018 has increased slightly. A total of five incidents were reported in September 2018 compared to six incidents in October 2018. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from October 2017 to October 2018.

STATUS OF SHIPS
Of the six incidents reported in October 2018, five incidents occurred on board ships at anchor/berth and one incident on board ship while underway.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the six actual incidents reported in October 2018, one was a CAT 2 incident, two were CAT 3 incidents and three were CAT 4 incidents. Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in October of 2009-2018.

LOCATION OF INCIDENTS
The location of the six incidents reported in October 2018 is shown in Map 1. (See PDF)

JANUARY-OCTOBER 2018
NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
A total of 70 incidents comprising of 56 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents have been verified and reported to ReCAAP ISC during January-October 2018. Of these, 67 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and three were piracy incidents. Compared to January-October 2017, there was a 5% decrease in the total number of incidents reported during January-October 2018. A total of 74 incidents comprising 64 actual and 10 attempted incidents were reported during January-October 2017. Graph 2 shows the number of incidents reported during the 10-year reporting period of January-October of 2009-2018.

Actual Incidents
The decrease in the total number of incidents during January-October 2018 was due to the lower number of actual incidents compared to the same period in 2017. A total of 56 actual incidents were reported during January-October 2018 compared to 64 actual incidents during the same period in 2017. The improvement was most apparent at ports and anchorages in the Philippines. A total of six actual incidents were reported at ports and anchorages in the Philippines during January-October 2018 compared to 15 incidents during the same period in 2017.

The total number of actual incidents reported during January-October 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year reporting period of January-October.

Attempted Incidents
There has been an increase in the number of attempted incidents reported during January-October of 2018 compared to 2017. A total of 14 attempted incidents were reported during JanuaryOctober 2018 compared to 10 attempted incidents during January-October 2017. The increase was most apparent at ports and anchorages in Indonesia. A total of six attempted incidents were reported in Indonesia during January-October 2018 compared to two attempted incidents during the same period in 2017. This indicates that ship master/crew and the Indonesian authorities had been successful in preventing boarding by perpetrators during January-October 2018.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS

Of the 56 actual incidents reported during January-October 2018, one was a CAT 1 incident, six were CAT 2 incidents, 12 were CAT 3 incidents and 37 were CAT 4 incidents. The CAT 1 incident involved the abduction of two fishermen from fishing boat Sri Dewi 1 on 11 Sep 18 in waters off Eastern Sabah. The number of CAT 1 incident reported during January-October 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year period of January-October of 2009-2018. Chart 2 shows the significance level of incidents reported during January-October of 2009-2018.

There were six CAT 2 incidents reported during January-October 2018; and they occurred at ports/ anchorages in Bangladesh (one) and India (one); and on board ships while underway in Malaysia (two), Philippines (one) and Straits of Malacca and Singapore (one). A total of 12 CAT 3 incidents were reported during January-October 2018, and all occurred on board ships anchored at ports/anchorages in Bangladesh (three), Indonesia (seven), Philippines (one) and Vietnam (one). The majority of the incidents reported during January-October 2018 were CAT 4 incidents, and this accounts for two-thirds of the total number of actual incidents.

UPDATE ON SITUATION OF ABDUCTION OF CREW IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS AND WATERS OFF EASTERN SABAH
There was no report of actual or attempted incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah in October 2018. The last actual incident reported to ReCAAP ISC occurred on board fishing boat, Sri Dewi 1 while sailing off Gaya Island, Semporna, Sabah, East Malaysia on 11 Sep 18; and the last attempted incident occurred to container ships, Kudos 1 while sailing off Sibago islands, Basilan, Philippines on 16 Feb 18.

On 30 Oct 18, ReCAAP ISC issued a Warning after receiving information from the Philippine Focal Point (Philippine Coast Guard) that a group of about 10 ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) members is planning to conduct kidnapping activities at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah. The group, armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launcher; is reportedly targeting businessmen or ship’s crew of foreign vessels passing through the area. They are using unmarked coloured blue and white motorbanca locally known as jungkong.

As serious threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah still remains, the 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 when transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, and report immediately to the Centres as shown in map below.

1. Philippine Coast Guard District
Southwestern Mindanao Operation Centre
Tel: +63 929686 4129
Tel: +63 916626 0689
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “NEPTUNE”
Email: [email protected]

2. Navy – Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS)
Bongao, TawiTawi
Tel: +63 917774 2293
VHF: Channel 16
Email: [email protected]

3. Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM)
Tel: +60 89863181/016
Fax: +60 898631812
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ESSCOM”
Email: [email protected]

CONCLUSION
The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January-October 2018 has decreased by 5% compared to the same period in 2017. The bulk of the decrease was due to lower number of actual incidents reported during January-October 2018 compared to JanuaryOctober 2017. The number of actual incidents reported during January-October 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year reporting period of January-October of 2009-2018. A total of 70 incidents comprising 56 actual and 14 attempted incidents were reported during January-October 2018 compared to 74 incidents comprising 64 actual and 10 attempted incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

The abduction of crew for ransom in the SuluCelebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern. The recent Warning issued by ReCAAP ISC indicates that serious threat of abduction of crew still exists in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah. The ReCAAP ISC reiterates its Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible; otherwise to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, and report immediately to the reporting centres.

Although there was no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, nor hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo in October 2018, the threat of these incidents still remains. The ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to reports of incident. Ships transiting areas of concern are to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain all round lookout 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.

ReCAAP ICS October Report [PDF]

Source: ReCAAP

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