24 oct 2019

ReCAAP ISC has issued an alert after three incidents involving ships underway in the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait.

The three incidents occurred in the western sector of Singapore Strait over the last four weeks. ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance and recommends that law enforcement agencies step up surveillance.

The Incidents

On September 30 at about 2314 hrs, the 43,721gt bulk carrier Transpacific was underway in the Singapore Strait when five perpetrators armed with knives were sighted on the ship deck. The alarm was raised and the crew searched the accommodation area but the perpetrators had already escaped. The crew was safe and nothing was stolen.

On October 18 at about 2324 hrs, the 159,806gt VLCC Hirado was underway in the Singapore Strait when five perpetrators were sighted at the engine room. The master raised the alarm, and the perpetrators escaped. Nothing was stolen.

On October 19 at about 0100 hrs, the 90,086gt bulk carrier, Nord Steel was underway in the Singapore Strait when the duty oiler sighted five perpetrators armed with gun and jungle knife on deck. The perpetrators threatened the duty oiler and tied his hands. They stole engine spares (including piston rings, oil rings, valve seats, valve spindles, crankpin bearing shell etc.) and escaped through the steering room.

Although there is no substantiate evidence, it is possible that the same group of five perpetrators boarded Hirado and then Nord Steel, as the two incidents occurred within an interval of two hours and in close proximity to each other.

Regional Drop in Piracy

There were 54 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 49 actual incidents and five attempted incidents) reported in Asia during January-September 2019. Compared to 64 incidents during January-September 2018 (comprising 50 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents), this represents a 16 percent decrease in the total number of incidents reported.

Of concern was the occurrence of two incidents of abduction of crew for ransom on June 18 and September 23 in the waters off Eastern Sabah, Malaysia. The risk of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains high.


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