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An increase has been observed in the number of cases of illegal drugs being found onboard ships in the US, according to data provided by local correspondents.

In the past the drugs were often smuggled onboard from ports in Colombia but, in order to try and avoid the scrutiny of US authorities, smugglers have recently sought to do so in other Central and South American countries, the Club said. In one recent case, the drugs were taken onboard via small boats in open waters off Chile and Peru and other cases show drugs being smuggled from Ecuador, Guatemala and the Caribbean.

The US authorities have increased the measures to detect drugs, with extra ships and specialist teams deployed. In the same context, local correspondents recommend that when ships are visiting ports in Colombia or Mexico, or other Central or South American ports, additional security precautions be employed, such as maintaining guards at the berth and on deck, added watch (especially while in port and just after sailing), regular shipboard inspections while in port, records made in the log books, etc.

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A 35% decrease compared to same period last year

A total of 37 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia during January-June 2021, accounting for a 35% decrease, compared to a total of 57 incidents reported during the same period in 2020.

The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia reported during January-June 2021 has decreased compared to the same period in 2020, due to the decrease of incidents in several locations in Asia. However, of concern is the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait and the persisting threat of abduction of crew by the ASG in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah.

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A total of 22 incidents reported in the Singapore Strait since January 2021

On 17 July 2021, two incidents of unauthorized boarding occurred to ships while underway off Tanjung Pergam, Bintan Island, Indonesia, and it is a new incident alert.

The two incidents occurred within an interval of 30 mins and in close proximity to each other in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

In both incidents, the perpetrators were armed with knives. They were sighted in the engine room in one incident, and in the steering gear room in the other. In both incidents, the perpetrators escaped upon being sighted, the crew was safe and nothing was stolen.

With the latest occurrences, a total of 22 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait since January 2021, with 18 incidents occurring off Tanjung Pergam. Perpetrators were armed with knives in nine incidents, the crew was assaulted in two incidents and engine spares were stolen in six incidents.

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In its weekly report for 13-20 July, two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia, both to ships while underway off Tanjung Pergam, Bintan Island, Indonesia, in the Singapore Strait on 17 July, within an interval of 30 mins and in close proximity to each other.

The incidents were classified as CAT 3, as the perpetrators were armed with knives. They were sighted in the engine room in one incident, and in the steering gear room in the other. The perpetrators escaped upon being sighted, the crew was safe and nothing was stolen in both incidents.