Singapore Strait seen from Marina Bay Sands (Wikimedia-Creative Commons/DonQue)

Three Maritime Armed Robbery Incidents Reported in Asia

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) has recently been notified of three incidents of armed robbery against ships. 

Of the three incidents, two incidents occurred to ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait (SS), and one incident occurred to a ship while berthed alongside the MOT Terminal at Sandakan, Sabah, East Malaysia. 

The two incidents in the SS occurred off Tanjung Pergam, Bintan Island, Indonesia within an interval of four hours on April 17. In one of the incidents, the duty engineer spotted one perpetrator trying to open the steering gear entrance door from the poop deck of a petroleum/chemical tanker. The perpetrator escaped knowing that his presence was discovered. Nothing was stolen. Within an interval of four hours, another incident occurred on board a bulk carrier while underway in the same vicinity. Four perpetrators were sighted in the engine room of the ship. One of the perpetrators hit the third engineer using a wrench. The crew member sustained a mild contusion on his forehead. Some engine spares were also stolen. Nothing was reported stolen in the other incident. 

With these two incidents, a total of 12 incidents had occurred in the SS since January 2021. ReCAAP is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the SS, particularly off Tanjung Pergam, and issued an Incident Alert on April 23. Of the 12 incidents in SS, nine incidents occurred off Tanjung Pergam. 

In its alert, ReCAAP urges the littoral States to increase patrols and enforcement in their respective waters, particularly in the waters off Tanjung Pergam; as well as strengthen coordination, including information sharing on the latest situation, and the criminal groups involved, in order to arrest the perpetrators. As the perpetrators of these incidents are currently at large, there is a possibility of further incidents in the Singapore Strait. All ships are therefore advised to exercise enhanced vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State.

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