ReCAAP - Special Report on Abducting of Crew from Ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and Waters off Easte
Aim 1. The purpose of this Special Report is to provide an analysis of the situation involving the abduction of crew from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah based on past incidents reported to the ReCAAP ISC between March 2016 and March 2017; the modus operandi of perpetrators involved in these incidents, and actions adopted by the ReCAAP ISC, ReCAAP Focal Points and the littoral States in addressing the situation.
2. This Special Report includes an advisory to the shipping industry to exercise enhanced vigilance and to report immediately to the relevant Centres when transiting the area. Summary of Report
3. Incidents involving the abduction of crew from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off eastern Sabah were first reported in March 2016, and these continue to occur. A total of 22 incidents comprising 13 actual incidents and 9 attempted incidents had been reported to the ReCAAP ISC.
A total of 58 crew had been abducted; and as of 31 March 2017, 37 crew had been relea
sed and 21 crew are still being held in captivity.
4. For the first six months (between March and September 2016), fishing trawlers and tug boats towing barges were targeted. However, from October 2016 onwards, larger tonnage ships including bulk carrier, general cargo ship, container ship and product tanker were targeted. Most of these larger tonnage ships managed to avoid boarding by conducting evasive manoeuvres and implementing effective anti-piracy measures.
5. About 80% of the incidents occurred during daylight hours, and in most incidents the perpetrators did not harm the crew except in three incidents involving Giang Hai where two crew were killed, and Henry and Royal 16 where the crew had suffered some injuries. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was reportedly to be behind most of these incidents. There is no evidence to suggest that particular flag ship or nationality of crew were targeted.