One Injured in Robbery Aboard Heavy Load Carrier Off Batam

Robbery suspect caught on video aboard Dongbang Giant No. 6 (Baklama)
Robbery suspect caught on video aboard Dongbang Giant No. 6 (Baklama)

Published Jul 1, 2024 4:22 PM by The Maritime Executive


Indonesian maritime security agency Baklama has reported another daring robbery at sea off the Riau Islands, adding to a string of crimes targeting merchant ships' engine room spares.

In the early hours of June 25, the Korean heavy load carrier Dongbang Giant No. 6 made a distress call at an anchorage off the Kabil district of Batam, south of  the Singapore Strait. At 0330 local time, the crew reported that two unidentified vessels approached the ship, and two or three suspected robbers climbed up the Giant's low-freeboard hull towards the stern. They entered the engine room and stole 44 spare parts, injuring one crewmember in the process. 

The Batam VTS operator contacted the patrol ship KN Tanjung Datu, which diverted to the location. The law enforcement vessel arrived at 0500 hours, about 90 minutes after the distress call; however, the perpetrators had already fled. One crewmember sustained minor injuries to his hand.  

Image courtesy Baklama

Dongbang Giant No. 6 is a heavy load carrier with a deadweight capacity of 15,000 tonnes. It has delivered several high-profile cargoes, including modules for India's first greenfield refinery project in two decades and monopiles for the Calvados wind farm, one of the first installations of its kind in France. 

AIS data provided by Pole Star shows that the vessel had been moored off Batam at the same location since June 22. Over the past year, she has frequently returned to the same industrial terminal bordering Hang Nadim International Airport, on the west side of the island.

According to ReCAAP (the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery), incidents of armed robbery on ships in Asia increased by 19 percent in 2023, particularly in the region around the Singapore Strait and the Strait of Malacca. In a concerning trend, there have been more incidents in which the perpetrators were carrying knives, and seven cases where crewmembers were tied up. The volume of potential targets in the busy straits and the availability of hiding places in the littorals create favorable conditions for robbers, and maritime crime has risen and fallen in the area for decades.