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SMW 2023: Discussion held on emerging trends of piracy and sea robbery in Asia

‘In South East Asia, we are witnessing attacks to ships’ crew with the intention to steal cargo, stores or sometimes even the ship,’ says Ashok Srinivasan of BIMCO.




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The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), together with the three co-organisers BIMCO, INTERTANKO and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), held an annual Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference on Thursday (27 April) in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week 2023. 

This year’s conference featured a two-part panel discussion where panellists deliberated on the importance of “Partnership” between the shipping industry and law enforcement agencies in combating piracy and armed robbery against ships, to ensure safe and secure seas for seafarers.

Dr Heike Deggim, Director of the Maritime Safety Division at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in her keynote address, provided an update on the global situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Dr Deggim expressed appreciation for the excellent work of ReCAAP ISC and the achievements of the organisation since 2006, in its mission to enhance regional cooperation through information sharing, capacity building and cooperative arrangements. 

She urged the ReCAAP ISC to continue to organise the Piracy and Sea robbery conference aimed at building regional capacity to counter the menace of piracy and armed robbery against ships. In addition, she shared how States in Africa are working together and strengthening their capabilities to combat maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea. 

Vice-Admiral (Indian Navy Retired) Pradeep Chauhan, Director of the National Maritime Foundation, India, shared how the Indian authorities work with stakeholders to combat maritime crimes. 

CG Admiral Artemio M. Abu, Commandant of Philippine Coast Guard, and the Chairperson of ReCAAP ISC Governing Council, said: “From January to March 2023, 25 incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported to ReCAAP ISC. This is a 9% increase over the same period last year. Given the current inflationary pressures and uncertain economic outlook, many of the factors which drive individuals to commit piracy and sea robbery may return, and may lead to higher number of incidents this year. The shipping industry must continue to adopt best practices such as timely and accurate incident reporting and close collaboration with maritime authorities, to keep our sea lanes safe and protect crew and cargo.” 

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In the first panel discussion, representatives from BIMCO, INTERTANKO, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) discussed the emerging trends and modus operandi of piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia. 

Ashok Srinivasan, Manager of Maritime Safety and Security, BIMCO, said: “Piracy and armed robbery in any form is a threat to seafarers and shipping. In the Gulf of Guinea, we are beginning to see attacks again after a lull of 12 to 18 months. In South East Asia, we are witnessing attacks to ships' crew with the intention to steal cargo, stores or sometimes even the ship. Industry and authorities need to stay vigilant and not let their guard down. BIMCO will work tirelessly with relevant stakeholders to bring piracy problems under control.” 

Mr Elfian Harun, Regional Manager (Southeast Asia) and Environment Manager, INTERTANKO, said: “Piracy and armed robbery are crimes that no seafarer should have to face. Fortunately, the armed robbery taking place in the Singapore Strait has, thus far, not resulted in injury to crew, but the situation remains a real concern due to its potential impact upon the safety of navigation. ReCAAP ISC and its partners have taken tremendous steps to eradicate these crimes and this coordinated response is an example the other regions should consider emulating.” 

The second panel discussion saw representatives from the Maritime Security Task Force (Republic of Singapore Navy), BAKAMLA (Indonesian Maritime Security Agency) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) share best practices which ship masters should adopt to engage littoral states and law enforcement agencies. The panellists also highlighted individual country’s initiatives and cooperative efforts undertaken to suppress piracy and sea robbery in their territorial waters. 

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, said, “The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region continues to be a reference point to which the international community assesses the safety and security of regional waters. This conference gathers stakeholders and serves as a reminder on the importance of sustaining collective efforts and to always remain vigilant.” 

Executive Director ReCAAP ISC, Krishnaswamy Natarajan, in his closing remarks, said: “Combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia is not the sole responsibility of the coastal States or the shipping industry, but a common responsibility shared by all stakeholders since it is a transnational maritime crime. Building trust and confidence among stakeholders is necessary to promote cooperation, collaboration and information sharing, and to reduce piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in Asia.”

Manifold Times previously reported global oil and shipping group Monjasa stating pirates boarded Liberia-flagged oil tanker Monjasa Reformer on 25 March off Congo in West Africa. The pirates then abandoned the vessel and ‘brought part of the crew members with them’. 

In another incident, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) received a report that the Singapore-registered Success 9 was boarded by unidentified persons at about 300 nautical miles off the Abidjan Coast, Cote d’lvoire at about 10 pm (Singapore time) on 10 April.

Manifold Times then reported MPA was updated that Success 9 has been located off the coast of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. All crew, including the Singaporean crew, were safe and in good health. The ship safely arrived at Abidjan port.

In April, Information Fusion Centre IFC provided an infographic on recommended measures for ship transiting in areas of concerns especially Singapore Strait in light of increased theft, robbery and piracy at sea.

Related: Breaking: Singapore-registered oil tanker “Success 9” located, crew safe
Related: IMO urges for regional and international efforts in response to recent piracy incidents
Related: IMB records lowest level of Q1 piracy since 1993 in 2023 report
Related: IFC publishes key observations from sea robbery incident reports
Related: Pirates abandon “Monjasa Reformer”, portion of crew returns to safety
Related: Pirates board Monjasa oil tanker “Monjasa Reformer” in Gulf of Guinea
Related: IFC: Update of boarding and attempted boarding incidents in Singapore Strait (Dec)


Photo credit: ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre
Published: 2 May, 2023

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Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

‘Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,’ says Chee Hong Tat.





Singapore: Allision between dredger and bunker tanker was not caused by port congestion, says Transport Minister

The allision between Netherlands-registered dredger VOX MAXIMA and stationary bunker tanker MARINE HONOUR on 14 June was not caused by port congestion, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on Tuesday (18 June). 

Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima crashed into a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour on 14 June, causing oil from the bunker vessel’s cargo tank to spill into Singapore waters. 

Chee said some members of the public have asked if this incident was due to congestion in our port waters.

“Investigations are still on-going, but preliminary findings show that the allision on 14 June was caused by the dredger experiencing sudden loss of engine and steering controls,” he said a social media post.

“It is not due to port congestion as our port waters and anchorages are not congested. The earlier reports on delays experienced by container vessels are a separate matter that is due to the bunching of container vessels arriving at PSA.”

Chee added it will take time for Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to complete the full investigations and progressively clean up the oil spill. 

“We seek the understanding of members of the public and businesses who are affected by this incident. We will do our best to complete the clean up as soon as possible.”

Manifold Times previously reported MPA stating that it saw large increases in container volumes and the “bunching” of container vessel arrivals over the previous months due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.

Later, MPA confirmed that since the beginning of 2024, Singapore saw a significant increase in vessel arrivals.

In the first four months of 2024, MPA said the monthly average tonnage of container vessel arrivals reached 72.4 million gross tonnage (GT). This is an increase of more than one million GT per month, compared to the same period last year. 

On 20 June, in a joint statement, authorities said the northern part of the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal (PPT) is cleared of oil slicks following the deployment of the Current Buster, an oil recovery and containment system, since 18 June. 

Thorough cleaning of the oil-stained Berth 36 near the allision area using high-pressure jets is on-going.

PPT was the location of the oil spillage following the 14 June allision between Netherlands-registered dredger VOX MAXIMA and stationary bunker tanker MARINE HONOUR. 

“The deployment of the Current Buster at this upstream location is important to prevent surface oil from flowing westwards towards West Coast Park which is unaffected till date, and also eastward towards downstream locations, including Sentosa beaches, Sentosa Cove, Southern Islands, and Keppel Marina,” authorities, including MPA, said.  

Three Current Buster systems have been deployed. Two systems capable of five tonnes of recovered oil per load are deployed off western affected areas at PPT and Sentosa. The other system capable of 35 tonnes load is deployed off eastern affected areas off East Coast and Changi East as a precaution to recover any oil and prevent further spread. Another 35 tonnes-load Current Buster system will be deployed shortly.

Total length of booms deployed since 14 June is 3400 meters. This is more than the approximate 3100 meters originally planned.

Note: The full statement by Singapore authorities including progress of the shore clean-up effort can be found here

Related: Singapore: Oil spill cleanup after allision between dredger “Vox Maxima” and bunker tanker “Marine Honour”
Related: Singapore sees large increases in container volumes, bunkering activities remain unaffected
Related: MPA reports ‘significant increase’ in vessel arrivals in Singapore


Photo credit: Singapore Transport Ministry / Chee Hong Tat
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan’s first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.





Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan's first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, on Wednesday (19 June) said it has received orders from Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping for Japan's first methanol-fueled roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo ships. 

The two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI's Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

The ships will be approximately 169.9 meters in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

A windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem are used to reduce propulsion resistance, while fuel efficiency is improved by employing MHI's proprietary energy-saving system technology combing high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance. 

The main engine is a high-performance dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and A heavy fuel oil, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil, contributing to a reduced environmental impact. 

In the future, the use of green methanol(2) may lead to further reduction in CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Methanol-fueled RORO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan.

In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, to address the growing needs from the modal shift in marine transport against the backdrop of CO2 reductions in land transportation, labor shortages, and working style reforms, will continue to work with its business partners to provide solutions for a range of societal issues by building ferries and RORO vessels with excellent fuel efficiency and environmental performance that contribute to stable navigation for customers.


Photo credit: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding
Published: 20 June, 2024

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VPS and Normec Verifavia to offer data-driven and verified emissions data

Both firms signed a partnership agreement with Normec Verifavia to support improved vessel data for MRV / EU ETS reporting and beyond.





VPS and Normec Verifavia to offer data-driven and verified emissions data

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Monday (17 June) said it has signed a partnership agreement with Normec Verifavia to support improved vessel data for MRV / EU ETS reporting and beyond. 

In the face of tightening regulations and focus, VPS said large parts of the maritime industry are in the midst of stepping up their efforts to collect high-quality emissions data from vessel operations. 

“To meet this demand, VPS and Normec Verifavia will offer vessel owners and the wider maritime ecosystem to have indisputable emission numbers produced in a data-driven way,” the firm said.

“For vessel owners, this ensures compliance with upcoming MRV and EU ETS requirements where reported emission numbers need to be verified by a certified verification body.”

The partnership will combine the strengths that VPS have in data-driven decarb and Normec Verifavia´s position as an agile and independent third-party data verifier. The two companies offer a plug-and-play setup, where the vessel owner can experience a seamless and integrated experience in the handling and verification of fleet fuel- and emission numbers. 

 The first step of the partnership is to offer verification for VPS customers using the Maress system for data-driven decarbonisation. Maress is a leading tool in the offshore industry, handling the complexities around fuels- and emissions optimization and assisting crew and onshore personnel in making informed decisions on how to reduce vessel and fleet footprint. Maress is used by a diverse set of stakeholders in the offshore sector, such as vessel owners, contractors, management companies, charterers and more.  

Further, VPS also offers the Emsys technology for precise and real-time measurement of the emissions going through the vessel smokestack. This data can be fed directly to Maress and subsequently verified by Normec Verifavia to provide full control of all aspects of the fuels- and emissions related to vessel operations.

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS

Jan Wilhelmsson, COO, Digital & Decarbonisation of VPS, said, "We see a rapid development where the market is no longer willing to take the risk of not knowing -precisely- what the emissions from operations are. We are excited about the fact that the partnership with Normec Verifavia enables all Maress users to get their emission numbers verified. It will literally be a one stop shop for data collection, analytics, collaboration and verified emission reporting."

Yuvraj Thakur, Managing Director & VP Commercial, Normec Verifavia, said: “The maritime industry faces a crucial challenge: achieving transparency and driving progress towards a decarbonised future. Normec Verifavia's collaboration with VPS represents a significant step forward in this direction.”

“By leveraging their expertise in data-driven decarbonization tools like Maress, we can empower asset owners to streamline the entire emissions data lifecycle. This will not only enhance the accuracy of reported data but also significantly reduce the administrative complexities faced by many stakeholders. This collaborative effort strengthens the foundation for a more sustainable maritime industry.”

The ability for Maress customers to verify emission numbers will be immediately commercially available.

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 20 June, 2024

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