Indonesia urged to increase port, sea security


The London-based International Maritime Board (IMB) has urged the Indonesian government to heighten security at its ports and in its waters due to increased instances of armed robbery and piracy over the past few months.
“While seafarers continue to be on their guard against the threat of piracy, robbery is still a danger to shipping in many parts of the world. Indonesian authorities should pay greater attention and rapidly respond to increasing armed robberies at Indonesian ports. Otherwise, this will disturb national and international shipping,” the maritime watchdog said in a press release over the weekend.
The IMB said it had received reports on armed robberies at seaports and at sea and had informed the relevant authorities in Indonesia to avoid worsening conditions.
It said it received the latest report on armed robbery onboard a chemical tanker anchored at Belawan port in Medan, North Sumatra on Sept. 29.
During the incident, three robbers with knives entered the tanker, held a duty seaman and then tied him up. The robbers escaped with stolen goods after an alarm was raised.
Two similar incidents also occurred onboard two container ships at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta and at Kabil port in Batam, Riau Islands on Aug. 17 and Sept. 8 respectively, and the robbers escaped with stolen property and stores.
Worldwide, 233 cases of sea piracy were recorded in the first nine months of this year, down from 352 in the same period last year, Associated Press reported.
The IMB’s piracy reporting arm, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, said 24 vessels were hijacked worldwide between January and September 2012, with 458 crew members taken hostage and six killed.
Chairman of the Indonesian Seafarers’ Association (KPI) Hanafi Rustandi said that the association had coordinated with the Navy and the National Sea Security Coordination Board (Bakorkamla) to improve security at ports, at sea and to maintain the international confidence in the government.
“Seaports are prone to [armed] robberies because of loose security, while waters are prone to piracy, smuggling and human trafficking, because of rare patrols from relevant authorities,” he said.
Bakorkamla spokesman Tri Susyono denounced the IMB’s reports, which he said were not based on valid information and data.
He stressed that Indonesian ports were relatively safe since they were closely monitored either by Navy offi cers, security guards and police, and that the robberies exposed by the IMB did not represent a serious danger.
“Seaports and vessels are prone to robberies not only in Indonesia and other third countries but also in developed countries such as Britain, the Netherlands and the US,” he said.


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