Asian piracy incidents decrease

According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) a total of 39 Asian piracy incidents were reported during July to September 2014 compared with 58 incidents during April to June 2014, a drop of one third.

Contrastingly, for the first six months of 2014, there has been a significant increase in the number of incidents compared to the same period of last year. The ReCAAP ISC witnesses a surge in the number of incidents from 61 reported during January – June 2013 to 90 during the same period in 2014. However, after July 2014, there has been a significant reduction in the number of incidents within the three-month period from July to September in 2014, ReCAAP reports.

However, the accumulative number of Asian piracy incidents reported during January – September 2014 was 129 due to the surge of incidents reported during January – June 2014. Compared to the same period in 2010 – 2013, there has been an upward trend in the overall number of incidents reported during January – September 2014.

Except for incidents involving siphoning of ship fuel/oil, the bulk of the incidents reported during January – September 2014 were petty thefts, while the Category 2 incidents and Category 3 incidents have remained fairly consistent compared to the same period in 2011 – 2013.

Of concern were the Category 1 incidents involving siphoning of ship fuel/oil which indicates a decline in number of incidents reported in August 2014 and September 2014 which ReCAAP believes is due to ongoing collaborative efforts of the maritime enforcement authorities, and the shipping industry.

ReCAAP urges masters and shipping companies to carry out their ‘risk assessment’, conduct internal checks and enforce vigilance at sea to minimise the risk of boarding especially during hours of darkness.

While there has been a decrease in the number of Asian piracy incidents reported at some ports and anchorages in Indonesia; ships anchored off north-east of Pulau Bintan in the South China Sea had been boarded more frequently. Mostly less significance and petty theft in nature, these opportunistic robbers also boarded ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

The ReCAAP ISC urges the littoral States to step up surveillance, maintain continuous presence and conduct more regular joint coordinated patrols in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, advise ship masters to exercise extra vigilance when traversing areas susceptible to piracy attacks, and to report all incidents immediately to the authorities of the coastal States.

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