A total of five
incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in February
2018. No piracy incident was reported. Of the five incidents, three were actual
incidents and two were attempted incidents.
Of the two
attempted incidents, one was an attempted incident involving the abduction of
crew from a container ship at approximately 4.4 nm southwest of Sibago Island,
province of Basilan, Philippines. There is no actual incident of abduction of
crew and no incident of hijacking of ship for theft of oil cargo reported in
Of the five incidents
reported in February 2018, four incidents occurred on board ships while at
anchor/berth (in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam), and one incident on board ship
while underway (off Basilan, Philippines).
There was no report
of actual incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in
the Sulu-Celebes Sea in February 2018. However, of concern was an attempted
incident of abduction of crew reported on 16 Feb 18 involving container ship, Kudos
1. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super
Shuttle Tug 1 on 23 Mar 17; and the last attempted incident occurred on
board Doņa Annabel on 18 Apr 17.
On 16 Feb 18,
container ship, Kudos 1 was underway at approximately 4.4 nm southeast
of Sibago Island, province of Basilan, Philippines, when three motorized bancas
with three perpetrators on board each banca maneourvred to the portside
amidship of Kudos 1. Armed with firearms, the perpetrators attempted to
board the ship using ropes and hooks.
The master and crew
splashed hot water onto the perpetrators who opened fire at the ship for about
two minutes and re-positioned themselves at about 400 to 500 meters away from
the ship. The master also activated two flares. The perpetrators escaped
quickly in the motorized bancas and sped heading towards Basilan. Three crew
suffered minor injuries on their hands due to the glass debris from the ship's
porthole mirror which was broken because of the gun shot.
The authorities was
alerted to the distress signal and immediately responded by deploying assets to
the location of the incident. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) boarded the ship
and provided medical treatment to the injured crew.
The PCG and
Philippine Navy (PN) escorted the ship safely towards the port of Zamboanga
The vigilance of
the crew, quick responses in retaliation towards the perpetrators and timely
sending out of distress signals to the authorities has resulted in immediate
response by the authorities which successfully forced the perpetrators to abort
boarding and escape.
On 9 Feb 18, the
ReCAAP Focal Point (Philippines) reported to the ReCAAP ISC the release of two
Indonesian fishermen who were held in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
for more than a year.
The two fishermen,
masters of fishing vessels SSK 00520 and SN 1154, were abducted in
the waters between Pegasus Reef and Kual Kinatabangan near Taganak Island in
Tawi-Tawi on 5 Nov 16. They were released and handed over to the Indonesian
authorities on 20 Jan 18.
As of 28 Feb 18,
nine abducted crew is still being held in captivity⁶. The Philippine
authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military
operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralise the militant group. The
ReCAAP ISC reiterates its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident
Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to
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 Sea and eastern Sabah region, and report immediately to the
The situation of
piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia has improved in February 2018
compared to January 2018. A total of five incidents were reported in February
2018 compared to eight incidents reported in January 2018. However, of concern
was the occurrence of an attempted incident of abduction of crew for ransom in
the Sulu-Celebes Sea on 16 Feb 18.
The ReCAAP ISC
advises ships transiting the areas of concern to exercise enhanced vigilance,
maintain look-out for suspicious approach by boats, report all incidents to the
nearest coast States and flag State immediately, keep abreast of the latest
situation and implement preventive measures recommended in the Regional
Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.