Ships in Asia Were Safer in 1Q2016
There has been improvement in the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during the period January to March 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, ReCAAP ISC has reported.
A total of 14 incidents of robbery on board ships were reported during the first quarter of this year compared to 44 incidents piracy and robbery between January and March 2015. No piracy incident was reported during January to March 2016. The total number of incidents reported during 1Q2016 was also the lowest compared to the same period in past four years, between 2012 and 2015.
Of the 14 incidents, 10 occurred in India, and remaining four in China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. Twelve of the 14 incidents occurred on board ships while at anchor or in berth and two incidents on board ships underway. During the period of January-March 2016, there was no report on hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo and no unauthorized boarding of ships while underway in the Singapore Straits. No such incidents had been reported since September 2015 and December 2015 respectively.
Except for one incident, which involved the kidnapping of crew for ransom off the Philippines, a Category 1 incident, the other incidents reported during January-March 2016 were relatively less severe in nature compared to incidents reported during the same period in the past four years.
The incident of kidnapping of crew off the Philippines is of concern and the ReCAAP ISC together with Philippines and regional authorities are monitoring the situation there closely and advise ship master and crew to exercise enhanced vigilance and look out when operating in the area.
The intensive enforcement by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in the waters off India’s ports and anchorages, had led to the arrest of several suspects on February 22, 2016. No incident was reported there since then till March 2016.
“However, there is no room for complacency and more needs to be done,” the ReCAAP ISC report said. “The ReCAAP ISC continues to encourage closer cooperation and coordination among littoral states, shipping industry, and relevant stakeholders towards our shared commitment in keeping the sea in Asia safe.”