ReCAAP Issues Latest Monthly Piracy Report
A total of 16 incidents were reported in November 2012. Compared to November 2011 and November 2010, there has been an increase in the number of actual incidents reported in November 2012.
Of the 16 actual incidents reported during November 2012, two were Category 1 (very significant) incidents, four were Category 2 (moderately significant) incidents, five were Category 3 (less significant) incidents and five were petty theft (minimum significant) incidents. This is the first time that Category 1 incidents have been reported during the reporting period of November 2010-2012. However, the number of Category 3 and petty theft incidents reported in November 2012 had remained the same compared to November 2011.
Over the three reporting periods, the number of Category 2 incidents had fluctuated (seven incidents in November 2010 to three incidents in November 2011 and four incidents in November 2012) while the Category 3 and petty theft incidents had increased (five incidents in November 2010 to 10 incidents in November 2011 and November 2012). The reason for such a trend was due to the decrease in the number of incidents involving vessels while underway in November 2012 and 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. In November 2010, half of the total number of incidents involved vessels while underway, but in November 2011 and November 2012, more than three-quarter of the incidents involved vessels at anchor or at berth.
Category 1 incidents
Of the two Category 1 incidents reported in November 2012, one involved the hijacking of chemical tanker, Zafirah on 19 Nov 12 when pirates armed with knives and pistol boarded and took control of the chemical tanker while she was underway in the South China Sea. Details of the hijacking of Zafirah are featured as a case study in this report. The other Category 1 incident involved the illegal siphoning of fuel from tanker, Yunita on 11 Nov 12 when she was anchored at the Muara Berau Anchorage, Samarinda, Indonesia. Eight robbers armed with pistol, knives and parangs (long knives) boarded and forced the tanker to pump out about 80MT of Marine Gas Oil (MGO) cargo to an unknown barge. The robbers also took the crew’s personal belongings before they escaped.
Category 2 incidents
In November 2012, four Category 2 incidents were reported. Of these, two incidents were reported in South China Sea, one incident at anchorage in Indonesia and one incident in India. In these incidents, the pirates/robbers were armed with long knives or rods; and operated in larger groups of eight to 10 men. In one incident, they assaulted the crew and in another, they tied the crew to the foxle. In November 2010, six of the seven Category 2 incidents involved vessels while underway. However, in November 2011 and November 2012, more than half of the Category 2 incidents involved vessels berthed or anchored at ports and anchorages.
Category 3 and Petty Theft incidents
In November 2012, 10 Category 3 and petty theft incidents were reported. Of these, eight incidents occurred in Indonesia, one incident in India and one incident in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Of the eight incidents reported in Indonesia, three occurred at Jakarta Anchorage, two at Belawan Anchorage, two at anchorages off East Kalimantan (Adang Bay and Samarinda) and one off Nipa Transit Anchorage. The robbers operated in groups of three to five men, armed with knives and boarded the vessels during hours of darkness (between 1950 hrs and 0600 hrs). The items targeted were ship stores such as drums of paint or firefighting equipment, or engine spare parts. The robbers escaped immediately as soon as they have stolen the items or were spotted by the crew. The ReCAAP ISC urges the relevant authorities to increase surveillance at their ports and anchorages to deter robbers; encourages ship masters and crew to exercise vigilance when their vessels are anchored or berthed, and report all incidents to the coastal State immediately.
Naval Today Staff, January 2, 2013; Image: ReCAAP