The piracy situation in the sea area between Sabah, Malaysia and the Southern Philippines continues to be a concern and all vessels are advised to report to the relevant authorities prior entering or passing the Sibutu Passage and Sulu-Celebes Sea.
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) recently issued its monthly report for 2017 addressing the piracy situation in Asia. According to ReCAAP, there has been a notable decline in the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia generally, but the situation in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and the waters of eastern Sabah continue to be of concern.
On average, there has been at least one successful attempt in the Sulu-Celebes Sea area every month since January 2016. February, May and August 2016 being the only exceptions where no piracy related incidents were reported in this region. It is worth nothing that November 2016 saw the highest number of attempts on larger vessels.
In addition to the recommendations provided in Gard’s previous alert, all vessels should report to the Philippine Authorities and ESSCOM prior entering or passing the Sibutu Passage and Sulu-Celebes Sea. The contact details are stated below:
Philippine Coast Guard District Southwestern
Mindanao Operation Centre
Tel: +69 929686 4129 / +63 916626 0689
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ENVY”
Navy- Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS)
Tel: +63 917774 2293
VHF: Channel 16
Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM)
Tel: +60 89863181/016
Fax: +60 89863182
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ESSCOM”
Timely reporting of a vessel’s position prior to entry to the region will assist the Maritime law enforcement agencies to track the vessel’s movements during the passage. According to ReCAAP, Maritime law enforcement vessels are deployed to act as mobile sea-watch RADAR over the stretch of the passage. These vessels act as police check points at sea and can intercept suspicious watercrafts in their respective area of operation.
We also recommend that Members and clients subscribe to ReCAAP’s monthly newsletter and share the information received with the ship’s crew.