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Web alert: The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) publishes guidance on Sulu Sea attacks

17 February 2017

The IFC in Singapore has released a commentary on the recent spate of attacks in the Sulu Sea, in particular, the Sibutu Passage.

The IFC reports that there were 33 incidents observed in the Sulu Sea over the last 12 months. Of these 33 incidents, 19 involved abductions.

Most of the attacks have been directed at smaller boats, such as tugboats and fishing vessels. However, two large merchant ships have also been attacked.

The IFC recommends the following measures be implemented while transiting in the affected area to mitigate the threat of getting attacked:

  • Maintaining good communications via VHF Channels 08 and 16 with littoral law enforcement agencies and the IFC;
  • Activate ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS);
  • Increase vigilance in watch-keeping and deploy additional lookouts;
  • Use CCTV cameras for coverage of vulnerable areas (if available);
  • Keep ship’s whistle and fog horn ready for immediate use;
  • Secure or lift external ladders to prevent their use and to restrict external access to the bridge;
  • Deploy Self-Protection Measures (SPM) e.g. rig the water spray hoses and foam monitors in a fixed position. Evasive manoeuvres have also been proven to deter perpetrators in the reported incidents in this specific area;
  • Firmly secure all doors and hatches providing access to the accommodation and machinery spaces; and
  • Consider restricting personnel access to upper decks and bridge wings during Sibutu Passage transits, so as to not present a target for potential small-arms fire. All non-essential personnel should be located in a secure part of the ship where practicable.

The full commentary can be downloaded by using the link on this page.

For further information, please contact your usual contact at the Club or the author of this article.​