During 2 - 8 Jul 19, one CAT 31 incident and two CAT 42 incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported to the ReCAAP ISC. The CAT 3 incident occurred on 31 May 19 at 12.2nm east of Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia when two perpetrators armed with knives boarded the ship. Upon sighted by the crew, the perpetrators escaped empty-handed by jumping overboard.
The two CAT 4 incidents involved the theft of scrap metal from barges towed by tug boats while underway in the west sector of the Singapore Strait. The incidents occurred about one month apart (on 19 May 19 and 18 Jun 19) and in close proximity to each other.
The perpetrators adopted similar modus operandi by coming alongside the barges in sampans. They boarded the barges and stole scrap metal on board the barges. The location of the three incidents is shown in map next page, and description tabulated in the attachment.
As the risk of the abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah is high as demonstrated by the abduction of 10 crew on 18 Jun 19, the ReCAAP ISC reiterates 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. The contact details of the Operation Centres of Philippines and ESSCOM of Malaysia (updated by ReCAAP ISC on 3 Jan 19) are as follows: