Sulu Sea -Philippines
Celebes Sea - Malaysia
Sulu Sea & Celebes Sea - Armed Guards
The main area of heightened Piracy/ Terrorist/ Armed Robbery activity in Southeast Asia is within the area of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, the Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and Makassar/ Malacca/ Singapore Straits. The Politically charged piracy/ Armed Robbery in the Eastern Region around the Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and Makassar/ Malacca/ Singapore Straits, from groups such as Abu Sayyaf will almost certainly continue for years to come. This area is extremely hard to police as the many thousands of islands in the region offer effective hiding places for the criminals and terrorists operating in the Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and Makassar/ Malacca/ Singapore Straits.
Until now the only alternatives for shipowners, Yacht and Superyacht owners has been to either accept the extremely high risk of sailing unprotected through the areas such as the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea and face a potentially high ransom payment and massive negative PR impact or to deviate well to the East or West of the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea and incur additional fuel costs. Now, however, Associated Risks are able to provide a secure and cost-effective alternative to the provision of privately contracted Armed Guards utilizing Government approved and legally licensed Armed Guards from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to protect ships/ Tugs/ Barges/ Yachts/ Superyachts from acts of Piracy/ Armed Robbery and terrorism when transiting the Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and Makassar/ Malacca/ Singapore Straits between Bongao, Tawi Tawi, Mindoro, Manila, General Santos, Surigao City, Balabac and Sibutu Passage in the Philippines, between Tawau, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Sandakan and Kudat in Sabah, Malaysia and between Banda Ache, Batam, Jakarta, Balikpapan, Mataram, Jayapura, Karakelong and Sebatik in Indonesia.
The Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea and Makassar/ Malacca/ Singapore Straits region covers the tri-border area of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is strategically located and most international shipping passes through its maritime sea lanes. In the Sibutu passage alone, an average of 14,000 ships passes yearly. Prior to 2016, there were kidnaps for ransom on land in the region carried out by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), an Islamic extremist group based in Southern Philippines. On 26 March 2016, the first abduction of crew from ship was reported. It involved the tug boat, Brahma 12 and 10 of the Indonesian crew on board the boat were abducted. Since then, a spate of abduction of crew incidents were reported in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Armed Guard Routes - Sulu & Celebes Seas
Kidnap-For-Ransom Warning Sulu & Celebes Seas
05 Mar 2021: The ReCAAP ISC has received information from the Philippine Coast Guard (ReCAAP Focal Point) about an incident involving a bulk carrier, Akij Pearl off Sibutu Island, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines on 3 March 2021 at about 1045 hrs. While the bulk carrier was underway, an unidentified speed boat with three perpetrators on board attempted to board the ship. The master reported the incident to the Philippine Navy Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS). There was no mention if the perpetrators were armed.
As the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group/Kidnap-for-Ransom Group (ASG/FRG) elements are based in the area of the incident, the ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, in particular waters off Sibutu Island.
Source: Philippine Coast Guard
This information is to provide maritime situational awareness for mariners operating in the area.
Sulu Sea & Celebes Sea Maritime Security Alert
Date/Time of incident : 21 March 2021 at about 0643 hrs
Area Description : Vicinity of Kalupag Island, Brgy Kalupag, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines
Incident Overview : According to the Philippine Coast Guard (ReCAAP Focal Point), the Joint Operating Elements of the 2nd Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was conducting intensified search and rescue operation in the vicinity of Kalupag Island, Brgy Kalupag, Languyan, Tawi–Tawi, Philippines on 21 March 2021 when they encountered two members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) with the last crew who was abducted from fishing trawler SSK 00543 on 17 January 2020. While the AFP elements were engaged in a firefight with the ASG members, the abducted crew managed to escape from his captors and he was rescued by the AFP elements.
Maritime Security Guidance and Information
Click below links to open piracy guides:
- Guidance on Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Eastern Sabah
- Regional guide to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia
- Guide for Tankers Operating in Asia Against Piracy and Armed Robbery Involving Oil Cargo Theft
- Tug Boats And Barges (TaB) Guide Against Piracy And Sea Robbery
- BIMCO ReCAAP IMB – Tips on Avoiding Armed Piracy, Robbery and Theft
- Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia reported during 1st Quarter of 2022 (January-March 2022)
- ReCAAP Alerts : Warning / Alert / Update
- ReCAAP Reports : Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Reports
- 37 Incidents in 2022 as of May. Click here for full list of Maritime Security incidents