ReCAAP issue 'Tug Boats & Barge' guide to help owners, operators and crew stay safe from hijacking and piracy.
The guide contains inputs and experience of tug boat owners, operators and masters whose vessels had been robbed or hijacked; and modus operandi of the robbers and hijackers.
In planning a passage, the guide highlights the responsibilities of the ship owner, ship master and crew at the various phases: the pre-sailing, sailing and post incident reporting/follow-up phases.
In past four years (2008-2011), it was observed that more tug boats and barges had been targets of robbery and hijacking in certain locations of Asia. The inherent characteristics and activities of tug boats towing barges had made these vessels relatively more vulnerable, particularly the low freeboard, slow speed of a tug boat which on an average moving between 8-10 knots, small number of crew onboard a tug boat, and unmanned barges with cargoes and logistic items onboard.
As the annual number of incidents involving tug boats boarded by pirates / robbers has shown an upward trend between 2009 and 2011, the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) and the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) also took the initiative to jointly produce a poster entitled “Guidelines for Tug Boats and Barges Against Piracy and Sea Robbery”. The poster outlines the factors and risks that tug boat’s owners, masters and crew need to consider during navigation, advice on how to minimize risks and protection measures to adopt to avoid, deter and delay boarding by perpetrators. The poster contains the reporting procedures and contact details of coastal states and the relevant authorities in the event that the tug boats and barges were approached by suspicious boats or boarded.
The Tug Boats and Barge guide is available here.