Piracy in Asia Down Significantly This Year
There has been a significant improvement in the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January-September 2016 compared to the same period in past four years (2012-2015). The number of incidents reported during January-September 2016 has decreased by 65 percent compared to the same period in 2015, according to a recent report from ReCAAP ICS.
A total of 59 incidents were reported during January-September 2016 compared to 169 incidents during the same period in 2015. The total number of incidents reported during January-September 2016 is also the lowest among the reporting period of January-September of 2012-2016.
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) was established under the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) agreement. The roles of ReCAAP ISC include exchanging information among contracting parties on incidents of piracy and armed robbery and supporting capacity building efforts of contracting parties.
Of the 59 incidents, three were incidents of piracy and 56 armed robberies against ships. Of concern was the CAT 1 (very significant) incidents involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu Sea, and they accounted for seven of the nine CAT 1 incidents reported during January-
September 2016. The other two CAT 1 incidents involved the hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo. The Indonesian authorities arrested the perpetrators involved in one of the incidents and recovered the cargo.
More than two-thirds of the incidents reported during January-September 2016 were CAT 4 (minimum significant) incidents, and the number of CAT 2 and CAT 3 incidents had also decreased and were the lowest among the five year reporting period of January-September of 2012-2016.
The decrease in the overall number of incidents reported during January-September 2016 was most evident in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) involving ships while underway. Other improvements were reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Vietnam. There has also been a decrease in incidents involving hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo. Two such incidents were reported during January-September 2016 compared to 11 incidents during January-September 2014 and 12 incidents during January-September 2015.
About 73 percent of the incidents reported during January-September 2016 occurred on board ships while at ports and anchorages, and 27 percent on board ships while underway. In incidents where losses were reported, theft of ship stores such as mooring ropes, paint, and engine spares were mostly stolen from ships anchored/berthed, while loss of crew’s personal belongings and cash were reported to ships while underway.
“Although the total number of incidents has decreased,” the ReCAAP report concluded, “there is no room for complacency as more needs to be done at certain ports and anchorages and preventive measures need to be implemented to prevent the recurrence of incidents involving the abduction of crew in the Sulu Sea and hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo.”
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