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Incident

MPA: Shipmaster of bulk carrier injured after sea robbery in Strait of Malacca

MRCC, operated by MPA, was notified of an alleged case of sea robbery onboard a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier that was enroute to Singapore, in the Strait of Malacca.

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The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Friday (27 October) said The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which it operates, was notified that morning at about 4.30am of an alleged case of sea robbery onboard a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier.

The incident took place in the Strait of Malacca, outside Singapore’s territorial waters. The vessel was enroute to Singapore.

“MRCC had directed the vessel to anchor off the western part of Singapore to facilitate a search by the Police Coast Guard. The search has been completed onboard and nothing was reported missing,” it said in a statement.

“The shipmaster who was hurt in the incident is reported to be in stable condition and has been conveyed ashore to seek medical treatment.”

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 31 October, 2023

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Crime

IFC Annual Report 2023: 58 incidents of theft, robbery and piracy at sea in Singapore Strait

IFC recorded 58 incidents of TRAPS in the Singapore Strait, which remains the main area of concern but it noted there was a notable 47% decrease in incidents in the second half of 2023.

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IFC Annual Report 2023: 58 incidents of theft, robbery and piracy at sea in Singapore Strait

The Information Fusion Centre (IFC), a regional Maritime Security centre hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy, on Saturday (17 February) released its annual report and infographic for 2023. 

The report and infographic covers Theft, Robbery and Piracy At Sea (TRAPS), Maritime Incidents and Contraband Smuggling, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing, Irregular Human Migration, Environmental Security and Cyber Security. 

According to the report, IFC recorded 58 incidents of TRAPS in the Singapore Strait, which remains the main area of concern but it noted there was a notable 47% decrease in incidents in the second half of 2023.

“The 58 incidents recorded in 2023 is higher than 2022 (55) and 2021 (49), and is a continuing trend possibly due to the current slow economic recovery and the rising cost of living, prompting more locals to resort to petty theft,” IFC said in the report. 

Most of the incidents occurred in the Phillip Channel (34 Incidents), mainly Northeast of Karimun Besar Island and Northwest of Kepalajernih Island, where vessels have been known to decrease speed significantly when turning. The other area of concern is waters off Bintan and Batam islands (12 incidents). It is assessed that increased enforcement efforts by regional authorities in the waters off Bintan and Batam islands have caused perpetrators to shift their operations to the Phillip Channel.

Notably, the number of incidents in Singapore Strait fell by 47% in the second half of the year, assessed due to the overall stepped-up enforcement efforts by regional authorities. Particularly, a successful land operation mounted by Indonesian authorities in October led to the arrest of several members of a suspected sea robbery syndicate; following this, there was only 1 incident reported in November and December combined.

According to the report, bulk carriers were the most frequently targeted vessel types in the Singapore Strait, accounting for 69% of the incidents, followed by tugs and barges, and tankers making up 19% and 12% of the incidents respectively. 

“This is due to their slower speed (7 to 12 knots), and lower freeboard (less than 8m). Stolen Items include engine spare parts and small tools (bulk carriers and tankers), and scrap metal (tugs and barges),” IFC added.

Recent investigations by Indonesian authorities have also revealed that perpetrators have become more tech-savvy, making use of commercially available online applications in their handphones to select suitable targets (using AIS information to identify vessel type and speed) to increase chances of success.

IFC said the report and infographic are co-developed by its International Liaison Officers (ILO), with insights and data collected over the past years, covering IFC's 8 MARSEC categories within the IFC Area of Interest (AOI).

Note: Information Fusion Centre’s Annual Report 2023 and infographic can be downloaded here.

 

Photo credit: Information Fusion Centre
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Safety

Trafigura assesses security risks of voyages after tanker was hit by missile in Gulf of Eden

Firm was assessing the security risks involved in any voyage after tanker “Marlin Luanda”, operated on behalf of Trafigura, was struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden after transiting the Red Sea on 26 January.

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MarineTraffic / Frank Findler

Commodity trading firm Trafigura Pte Ltd on Saturday (27 January) said it was assessing the security risks involved in any voyage after the Marlin Luanda, a petroleum products tanker vessel operated on behalf of Trafigura, was struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden after transiting the Red Sea on 26 January. 

Firefighting equipment on board were deployed to suppress and control the fire caused in one cargo tank on the starboard side and Trafigura later confirmed no injuries or casualties have been reported in respect of the incident on board the Marlin Luanda.

“We are pleased to confirm that all crew on board the Marlin Luanda are safe and the fire in the cargo tank has been fully extinguished. The vessel is now sailing towards a safe harbour. The crew continues to monitor the vessel and cargo closely,” it said in its latest update.

“No further vessels operating on behalf of Trafigura are currently transiting the Gulf of Aden and we continue to assess carefully the risks involved in any voyage, including in respect of security and safety of the crew, together with shipowners and customers.”

Yemen's Houthi rebel group reportedly started attacking commercial ships in the southern Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and Africa on 19 November 2023.

Several shipping companies, including MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Wan Hai Lines, Ocean Network Express (ONE), HMM, Evergreen and Yang Ming, have rerouted their vessels via the longer Cape of Good Hope route to avoid these attacks.

Glander International Bunkering said some 35,000 vessels that sail through the region annually could be affected as the wave of attacks on merchant ships continue in the Red Sea.

“With the disruption of key trade route linking Europe and North America with Asia through the Suez Canal, exporters and shippers are increasingly looking to find alternative ocean transportation routes,” it said.

Under an extended threat, ship- and freight forwarders face disruption and freight cost rises. Moving goods around Africa can add as much as 30 days to a voyage.

“As a result, we are seeing an increase in bunker demand in East/West Africa and the Arabian Gulf. This is primarily in Durban, Port Louis, Canary Islands, Salalah, and Fujairah,” the firm added. 

Related: ENGINE: War-risk premium soars to 0.75-1% as the Red Sea attacks enter third month|
Related: Glander sees bunker demand spike in East/West Africa, Arabian Gulf due to Red Sea crisis
Related: Argus Media: US-led naval coalition tells shipping to avoid Red Sea
Related: IMO Secretary-General condemns attacks against international shipping in Red Sea

 

Photo credit: MarineTraffic / Frank Findler
Published: 29 January, 2024

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Legal

Bulk carrier “Prosperity 102” placed under Sheriff’s arrest in Singapore

Vessel was arrested at 10.37am and is currently held at Singapore’s Eastern Anchorage; arresting solicitor listed was law firm Helmsman LLC.

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A Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, Prosperity 102, was arrested in Singapore waters on Wednesday (24 January). 

The 47,180 DWT vessel added to the list of vessels under Sheriff’s arrest in Singapore’s court system. 

According to the list, the vessel was arrested at 10.37am and the arresting solicitor listed was law firm Helmsman LLC. The ship is currently held at Singapore’s Eastern Anchorage. 

No details regarding the reason behind the arrest were provided in the list. 

According to maritime analytics provider Marine Traffic, the vessel was built in 1997, 27 years ago.

 

Photo credit: Justin Lim on Unsplash
Published: 26 January, 2024

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