A total of three incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in January 2019. There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in January 2019. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern.
NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
In January 2019, three actual incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported. The incidents have been verified and reported to ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points. Refer to the Appendix on page 13 for the description of the incidents.
Compared to January 2018, there was a 73% decrease in the number of incidents reported in January 2019. A total of 11 incidents were reported in January 2018. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from January 2018 to January 2019.
STATUS OF SHIPS
All three incidents reported in January 2019 occurred on board ships anchored; one at Caofeidian anchorage and one at Jingtang anchorage in China; and one at Ciwandan anchorage in Indonesia.
SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the three incidents reported in January 2019, one was a CAT 3 incident and two were CAT 4 incidents. Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in January of 2007-2019.
UPDATE ON SITUATION OF ABDUCTION OF CREW IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS AND WATERS OFF EASTERN SABAH
RESCUE OF REMAINING ONE ABDUCTED FISHERMAN OF SRI DEWI 1
On 15 Jan 19, the Philippine authorities rescued the remaining one abducted fisherman of Sri Dewi 1. Fishing boat Sri Dewi 1 was sailing in waters off Gaya Island, Semporna, Sabah on 11 Sep 18 when two masked men armed with firearms boarded the fishing boat and abducted two fishermen. One of the abducted fishermen was rescued earlier by the authorities on 5 Dec 18.
STATUS OF ABDUCTED CREW
As of 31 Jan 19, nine crew is still held in captivity3. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralise the militant group.
ReCAAP ISC ADVISORY
As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah remains, 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 while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.
To ensure timely responses to the reports of incidents by ships transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas, the Philippine Coast Guard has included an additional contact of the Philippine Coast Guard Station Bongao in Tawi-Tawi; and updated the contact numbers and email addresses of the Philippine Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao (CGDSW) and the Philippine Navy – Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS) Bongao in Tawi-Tawi. The contact details of the Operation Centres of Philippines and ESSCOM of Malaysia (updated on 3 Jan 19) are as follows:
1. Philippine Coast Guard District
Tel: +63 998 585 7972
+63 917 842 8446
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “NEPTUNE”
2a. Philippine Coast Guard Station,
Bongao (Central Tawi-Tawi)
Tel: +63 998 585 7941
+63 917 842 8402
VHF: Channel 16
2b. Philippine Navy – Littoral Monitoring
Station (LMS), Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
Tel: +63 955 714 0153
VHF: Channel 16
3. Eastern Sabah Security Command
Tel: +60 89863181/016
Fax: +60 89863182
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ESSCOM”
FULL REPORT HERE