Piracy and Sea Robbery Situation in Asia in January 2019

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The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) on Wednesday released a report on the piracy and sea robbery situation in Asia in January 2019.

Highlights of the ReCAAP Report:

  1. A total of three incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in January 2019
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. Of the three incidents reported in January 2019, one was a CAT 3 incident and two were CAT 4 incidents.
  5. 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
  6. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern

Update on Situation of Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Eastern Sabah

  1. On 15 January 2019, the Philippine authorities rescued the remaining one abducted fisherman of Sri Dewi 1
  2. Fishing boat Sri Dewi 1 was sailing in waters off Gaya Island, Semporna, Sabah on 11 September 2018 when two masked men armed with firearms boarded the fishing boat and abducted two fishermen
  3. One of the abducted fishermen was rescued earlier by the authorities on 5 December 2018
  4. As of 31 January 2019, nine crew is still held in captivity
  5. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralise the militant group

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 November 2016 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, the report stated.

Sea News, February 14