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Armed robbery attacks against ships in Straits of Malacca, Singapore rise

Staff Writer |
he Straits of Malacca and Singapore saw an increase in the number of armed robbery attacks against vessels during January-May, compared with the same period last year, a report released by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, or ReCAAP, said last Friday.

A total of five incidents were reported over January-May. Of this, two were robbery attacks in May on the tanker Front U11 and tug boat Budget 19, and one on the bulk carrier Katerina in April. Platts reported.

The remaining two incidents were unsuccessful boarding attempts on bulk carrier Tiberius and workboat Marineco Toomai in January.

This compares to one actual and one attempted robbery incident reported during the same period last year.

"The ReCAAP ISC [Information Sharing Centre] advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance while underway in the SOMS [Straits of Malacca and Singapore], particularly during hours of darkness and make timely report of all incidents to the nearest coastal State," Asia's regional body on combating piracy and robbery said.

It called on regional marine enforcement agencies to "beef up surveillance and render assistance promptly to reports made by victim ships."

ReCAAP also warned ship farers to be vigilant when traversing the waters of Indonesia.

There were a total of 17 robbery incidents reported in Indonesia over the first five months of the year compared with 13 over the same period last year.

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; Tanjung Priok Anchorage in Jakarta; Tanjung Uban Anchorage in Pulau Bintan and Merak Anchorage in Java.

However, unlike last year, no robbery incidents were reported at Dumai Anchorage.

There were also no reports of actual or attempted incidents of abduction of crew from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah, Malaysia in May.

The last actual abduction was on board the Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23, 2017, although there was one attempt on the Kudos 1 on February 16 this year.

The ReCAAP ISC advises 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.

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