Piracy Incident Report: SOMS
A detailed report from Allmode Security, with regular updates on piracy activity in the region of Indonesia this year. Incidents include multiple hijacks, boardings and attempted boardings. Despite the increased patrolling and extra monitoring of this particular region, pirates are still managing to board slow moving vessels whilst underway. Allmode advise continued enhanced vigilance in this piracy hotspot.
Piracy Report: 500
Incident Type: x 5 boardings /1 attempted Area: Eastbound Lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
Date of Incident:21st and 22nd August 2015
On 21st August and 22nd August 2015, six vessels, whilst underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, reported to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF, that about five unauthorised boardings and an attempted boarding had taken place. See the map above on the approximate location of the incidents. The Singapore Port Operation Control Centre (POCC) immediately notified the authorities of the littoral States and initiated navigational broadcast to warn mariners to maintain anti-piracy watch.
Detailed reports from each incident:
At about 0230 hrs, Advantage Summer was underway, when five perpetrators attempted to board the vessel at the stern from a speedboat. The crew responded, leading to the perpetrators aborted the attempt and fleeing. The Master reported incident to the VTIS via VHF.
Slightly more than an hour later, at about 0340 hrs, Navig8 Stealth SV was underway, when four perpetrators armed with knives, were sighted in the engine room. The Master raised the alarm and the perpetrators fled. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
Less than an hour later, at about 0430 hrs, Maersk Lebu was underway, when four perpetrators were again sighted in the engine room. The Master raised the alarm and the perpetrators escaped in a waiting small boat. There was no loss of property and the crew were safe.
At about 2329 hrs, Peace Bright was underway, when four perpetrators were sighted on- board the vessel. The alarm was raised and the perpetrators escaped in a waiting boat. There was no loss of property and the crew were safe.
At about 0525 hrs, Atout was underway, when the crew sighted four perpetrators without weapons on-board the vessel. The alarm was raised and they escaped. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
About an hour later, Elbtank Denmark was underway, when the crew sighted four perpetrators armed with knives on-board the vessel. The perpetrators stole the crew’s personal effects and escaped in a small boat. The crew were safe.
The location and timings of the first four piracy incidents would suggest that the same group was responsible for all, as they follow on in sequence from one another in both time and location. It would also suggest that as they were not successful, they felt the need to remain in the location awaiting further vessels, therefore acting spontaneously rather than planned. The group consisted of between 4 – 5 men, armed with knives, but they were not intent on confrontation and left the vessels as soon as the alarm was raised. It could then be possible for the same group to board the Atout Container ship,the next day, as they attempted to return to their probable base in the Pulau Batam islands. Having no success again, a final vessel was boarded, this time gaining some personal property of the crew, before escaping.
These incidents indicate that gangs are not being deterred by the presence of patrol vessels and they feel confident enough to risk staying in the location awaiting other vessels, without fear of capture. It also shows the determination of the gangs to persist until they gain some success.
The use of the VHF to warn other vessels of gang’s presence is essential and should be used by Masters to aid others. It is also essential that the littoral states step-up their patrols and create an atmosphere where gang’s feel under threat from the patrols and less likely to linger in the region.
Piracy Report: 462
Incident Type: boarding x 3
Date of Incident: 17/06/15
Incident 1 – At 0220 local time, a Brazil registered Bulk Carrier was boarded whilst underway in the eastbound lane of the Striats of Malacca and Singapore. The vessel was approximately 1.1nm south-southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil (01°05’N - 103°42’E) when the three men, armed with knives were spotted in the engine room. The crew raised the alarm and conducted a search. The perpetrators had escaped and nothing had been stolen.
Incident 2 – At 0503 local time, a Norwegian-registered LNG Tanker was boarded whilst underway at approximately 3.9 nm northeast of Pulau Takong Kecil (01°08’N - 103°46’E) when it was boarded by five intruders. The crew spotted the intruders in the engine room, before raising the alarm. A search was conducted and no-one was found and nothing had been stolen.
Incident 3 – At 0525 local time, a Panama-registered Tanker was boarded by five perpetrators whilst underway at approximately 6.9nm southwest of Pulau Takong Kecil (01°03’N - 103°36’E). The intruders tied up the Chief Engineer and the 1st Engineer, before being spotted in the engine room. The alarm was raised and the perpetrators escaped with generator spare parts.
Allmode Comment: All three incidents occurred within three hours of each other on vessels underway in the eastbound lane of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) and within approximately 4 – 10 nm of each other. In all three cases, the pirates entered the engine rooms looking for spares and it would be fair to speculate that the gang was the same in all three incidents. As they were unsuccessful in the first two, they used increase force in incident 3, by restraining two senior crew members. Although no-one was hurt in the incident and these incidents will be recorded as petty thefts, they do demonstrate the determination of gangs to accomplish their goal of acquiring engine spares through robbery and will stop at nothing to achieve this. It also questions the ability of these gangs to breach the security measures that all vessels transiting this route should employ, particularly for the more vulnerable vessels that travel slowly with low freeboards. It is essential, that all vessels which transit the region use enhanced security measures and that the crew are well-drilled in procedures for piracy incidents. If security is breached, then effective communications with other vessels in the area and the local ReCAAP ISC centre is essential. They will help warn other vessels in the area and send out the nearest local patrols to try to apprehend the perpetrators. Companies, CSO’s and Masters should evaluate the effectiveness of the controls already in place to prevent the illegal boarding, and taking control of a vessel and a full Risk Assessment should be conducted prior to any voyage to ascertain the likelihood of an incident occurring