ReCAAP: Asia Reports Three Armed Robbery Incidents in January

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…As China’s January exports rebound, imports decline***

The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia has improved as a total of three incidents were reported in January 2019, ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) said. 

This was a 73 percent decrease compared to eleven incidents reported in January 2018.

All three incidents reported in January 2019 occurred on board ships anchored – at Ciwandan anchorage in Indonesia and at Jingtang and Caofeidian anchorages in China.

The first incident, which occurred on January 11, involved Mito, a Panama-flagged general cargo ship. While at anchor, the engineer on duty discovered that the door to the spare parts room was broken. He reported the incident to the chief engineer and 1st officer. Upon inspection, spare parts of the generator were found missing. The crew was not injured, according to ReCAAP.

The second incident took place on board an unnamed Hong Kong-flagged bulker on January 12. While at anchor, two perpetrators armed with a steel bar came alongside the ship in a boat and boarded the ship via the port quarter using a rope. The crew spotted the perpetrators who, upon realising the crew had been alerted, escaped empty-handed immediately. The crew was not injured, ReCAAP said.

Finally, the third incident involved FMG Northern Spirit, an ore carrier flying the flag of Hong Kong. While at anchor, the crew on the bridge wing noticed a barge close to the ship side on the starboard quarter and raised the alarm. As the crew rushed out to the bridge wing starboard side, they noticed two perpetrators on board.

The perpetrators were lowering hoses to the barge from the starboard quarter. Once the hoses were lowered, the perpetrators slid down a rope tied to the gangway base onto the barge, where another perpetrator was waiting. The barge went astern and escaped. Upon checking the area where the perpetrators were sighted, the sounding caps of MDO storage and MDO service tanks were found opened. The MDO storage tank had oil stains around the sounding pipe. However, nothing was missing and there were no injuries to the crew members.

What is more, ReCAAP informed that there were no reports of crew abductions in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in January 2019. Additionally, no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo was reported in January 2019.

However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah continues to pose a serious threat in Asia, ReCAAP concluded.

In the meantime, China’s exports rebounded in January from a contraction late last year amid trade tensions with Washington, but imports declined.

Customs data on Thursday showed exports rose 9.1 percent from a year earlier to $217.6 billion, an improvement from December’s 3.5 percent contraction. Imports declined 1.5 percent to $178.4 billion.

Chinese exports to the United States have been squeezed by President Donald Trump’s tariff hike in a dispute over Beijing’s technology ambitions.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators began talks Thursday that Trump says will help decide whether he allows another tariff hike on $200 billion of imports from China to go ahead March 2.

World Maritime News with additional report from Fox News