Piracy and Armed Robbery Situation Against Ships in Asia is Improving
The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia continued to improve in February 2016 with lowest number of incidents reported for the previous 12 months.
Coupled with the decrease in the number of incidents was also a reduction in the severity level of incidents, according to the latest report from ReCAAP ISC. No incident involving hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo had been reported since September 2015. Also, there was no report of unauthorized boarding in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) since November 2015.
A total of three incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in February 2016. No piracy incident was reported.
All three incidents in February 2016 were Category 4 incidents, indicating that the incidents were opportunistic in nature involving perpetrators who were not armed and escaped immediately after realizing that they have been sighted by the crew. Of the three incidents, one reported loss of stores and in the other two incidents, nothing was stolen.
Of the three incidents reported in February 2016, two occurred on board ships while anchored in India (Tuna Buoy anchorage, Kandla and Haldia Dock Complex, Kolkata), and the third incident occurred while the ship was underway in the Gulf of Khambat off Gadhula, India.
In response to the increase in incidents at certain ports and anchorages in India since January 2016, the Indian Coast Guard had intensified its sea patrolling activities especially during hours of darkness. A total of six incidents had been reported in India in January 2016.
ReCAAP ISC advises ship masters and crew to enhance vigilance, increase security watch shifts and sound the alarm when suspicious boats are sighted in the vicinity or unauthorized boardings take place. Raising alarm and mustering of crew are effective in compelling the perpetrators to escape. Immediate reporting to local authorities is also essential for response.
More needs to be done at certain ports and anchorages in India, ReCAAP ISC recommended. The port authorities along with the state marine police and relevant enforcement agencies need to enhance their surveillance, said the report. Ship masters and crew should maintain stringent watch while their ships are anchored or berthed there.