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ReCAAP ISC Issues Report on Philippine Ports Incidents

September 25, 2020 - 11:38:30 UTC

ReCAAP ISC Special Report on Incidents at Anchorages/Ports in the Philippines

THERE has been an increase of the number of incidents reported at the  nchorages/ports in the Philippines during Jan-Sep 2020, reports ReCAAP ISC in this Special Report. The Special Report is to alert the shipping industry on the increase of the number of the incidents, provides an insight of the incidents, the modus operandi of the perpetrators and actions taken by the Philippine Coast Guard.

Following the increase of the number of incidents of sea robbery reported at Manila and Batangas anchorages/ports during Jan-Sep 2020, the shipping industry is advised toadopt the following measures when anchor/berth in the area:

  • Enhance vigilance and maintain strict anti-robbery watch
  • Keep the ship’s surroundings well lit, keep flood lights on
  • Keep sharp look-out for small boats approaching close to the ship and do not allow any boats to come near ship as much as possible
  • Keep the ship’s forward store room double and heavily locked.
  • Keep breathing apparatus, brass articles (such as fire nozzles) or paint drums, in safe and secured stores
  • Sound alarm when sighted suspicious boats loitering in the vicinity of the ship, or suspicious persons on board the ship
  • Report immediately all incidents and suspicious activities in the vicinity via Channel 16 to alert all ships in the vicinity, the VTMS and nearest Coast Guard Station.

Ship masters are advised to immediately report all incidents to the local authorities.

During Jan-Sep 2020, 13 actual incidents were reported in the Philippines. Of these, nine incidents occurred at Manila anchorage, three incidents at Batangas and one incident at General Santos Harbour anchorage.

Significance level of incidents

Of the 13 actual incidents reported during Jan-Sep 2020, two were CAT 2, three were CAT 3 and eight were CAT 4 incidents. The majority of the incidents during JanSep 2020 were CAT 4 incidents, and this accounts for 62% of the number of actual incidents (eight of 13 incidents). This is consistent with the past 13-year trend of incidents during 2007-20191 where 70% of the incidents were CAT 4 incidents (55 of 79 actual incidents). Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in the Philippines during 2007-2019 and Jan-Sep 2020.

ReCAAP Chart 1 - Significance Level of Incidents

Incidents at anchorages/ports in the Philippines (2007-2019 and January-September 2020)

A total of 102 incidents (comprising 92 actual incidents and 10 attempted incidents) were reported at anchorages/ports in the Philippines during the 13-year period of 2007-2019 and Jan-Sep 2020. Of the 102 incidents, 52 incidents occurred at Manila anchorages (51%), 29 incidents at Batangas (28%) and 21 incidents at other anchorage (21%). Graph 2 (Not shown) shows the number of incidents at anchorages/ports in the Philippines during 2007-2019 and Jan-Sep 2020.

Incidents at Manila anchorages/ports

During Jan-Sep 2020, nine incidents were reported at Manila anchorages. There has been increase in the number of incidents during Jan-Sep 2020 compared to the entire year of 2019. Three incidents were reported in 2019. The increase of the number of incidents in the Manila anchorage areas during Jan-Sep 2020 is due to the increase of the number of ships anchored in the Manila Bay area which has been designated as a Green Zone for crew change by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The large number of ships anchored in the area provides opportunities for perpetrators to come alongside in small boats during hours of darkness to commit robbery/theft from the ships.

Incidents at Batangas anchorages/ports

During Jan-Sep 2020, three incidents were reported at anchorages in Batangas.
There has been a decrease in the number of incidents during Jan-Sep 2020 compared to the entire year of 2019. Four incidents were reported in 2019.

Of concern was the violence demonstrated by the perpetrators towards the crew in two of the three incidents reported during Jan-Sep 2020. The incidents occurred at Bauan Batangas Terminal Inc. on 14 Aug 20, and at Batangas Bay anchorage area on 20 Aug 20.

Modus operandi and observations at Manila and Batanagas anchorages can be seen in the report link.



(9 Incidents)


(3 Incidents)

No. of perpetrators

(number of incidents)     

1 to 3 men (3)

4 to 6 men (1)

Unknown (5)

1 to 3 men (3)

Type of weapons

(number of incidents)

Knives/Machetes (2)

Not stated (7)

Knives/Machetes (3)   

Treatment of crew

(number of incidents)

No injuries (5)

Not stated (4)

Assaulted (1)

Threatened (1)

Not stated (1)

Type of losses

(number of incidents)

Stores (8)

Nothing stolen (1)

Cash/Property (1)

Nothing stolen (2)

Type of ship

(number of incidents)

Container ship (7)

General cargo ship (1)      

Tanker (1)

Bulk carrier (1)

Tanker (2)

Time of incidents

(number of incidents)

0200-0259 hrs (2)

0300-0359 hrs (4)

0400-0459 hrs (2)

2200-2259 hrs (1)

0200-0259 hrs (1)

1000-1059 hrs (1)

2000-2059 hrs (1)

Efforts by the Philippine Coast Guard

In response to the increase of the number of robbery/theft incidents at Manila and Batangas anchorages/ports, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) directed all stations and sub-stations under the Coast Guard District National Capital Region – Central Luzon (CGDNCR-CL) and the Coastal Guard District Southern Tagalog (CGDSTL) to:

  1. Intensify intelligence collection and maritime patrol operations in the vicinity waters of Manila Bay and Southern Luzon
  2. Increase the conduct of inspection of suspicious boats and watercraft
  3. roaming in the vicinity waters during hours of darkness, as part of the intensified maritime security measures.
  4. Intensify the implementation of the Safety, Security and Environmental

Numbering (SSEN) system for all Philippine-registered ships or watercraft to enhance maritime security within Philippines maritime jurisdiction to prevent the use of these ships and watercraft for robbery/theft.


In view of the increase of the number of incidents at Manila and Batangas anchorages/ports, the ReCAAP ISC reiterates that collective efforts and shared responsibilities by all stakeholders are necessary to combat robbery/theft incidents in the area. Ship master and crew are strongly advised to exercise vigilance, maintain constant look-out for suspicious boats in the vicinity, report all incidents immediately to the authorities, and implement preventive measures recommended in the ‘Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia’.

Source: ReCAAP ISC


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