Summary:

  • A total of 29 incidents of armed robbery against ships (comprising 28 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia during January-March 2020
  • This is compared to 10 incidents (comprising nine actual incidents and one attempted incident) during January-March 2019
  • This accounts for a three-fold increase in the total number of incidents reported during January-March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019
  • All incidents reported during January-March 2020 were armed robbery against ships
  • No piracy incident was reported

Specifically, during January-March 2020, a total of 29 incidents of armed robbery against ships (comprising 28 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia during January-March 2020 compared to 10 incidents (comprising nine actual incidents and one attempted incident) during January-March 2019.

It is highlighted that all reported incidents were armed robbery against vessels, while no piracy incident was reported.

The increase of incidents was observed in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore Strait.

  • Bangladesh: Three incidents during January-March 2020 compared to no incident during January-March 2019.
  • India: Six incidents during January-March 2020 compared to no incident during the same period in 2019.
  • Indonesia: Six incidents during January-March 2020 compared to three incidents during the same period in 2019.
  • The Philippines: Four incidents reported during January-March 2020 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2019.
  • Singapore Strait: Nine incidents during January-March 2020 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2019.

The report highlights that the rise of incidents onboard vessels while underway in the Singapore Strait during January-March 2020 is of great concern.

All the incidents reported in Indonesia and the Philippines occurred on board ships at anchor/berth, as shown in the graph herebelow

Incidents on board ships at anchor/berth (January-March 2020)

In addition, the chart below presents the location of the incidents occurred to ships while underway. All the incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) and the Sulu-Celebes Seas occurred on board ships while underway.

Incidents on board ships while underway (January-March 2020)

Despite the challenges expressed above, the report notes that there was an improvement seen at the ports/ anchorages in China, while there was no incident reported at the country during January-March 2020 compared to three incidents during January-March 2019.

ReCAAP focuses on the alarming issue of crew abduction, which remains a concern, in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah is high as demonstrated by the occurrence of an incident on 17 January 20 off Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia. Five of the crew abducted from the fishing trawler are still held in captivity.

During February, ReCAAP ISC informed that 10 armed robberies against ships were reported in Asia, from which four incidents occurred in India alone and another four occurred in the Singapore Strait, making a total of eight incidents in the region within 2020.

While January 2020, saw 11 armed robberies against ships were reported in Asia, with two alarming issues, concerning the recurrence of four incidents in the Singapore Strait and one crew abduction off Malaysia in January 2020.

Overall, in view of the rise of the accidents, ReCAAP ISC highlights the need for law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents reported by ships in order to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.

Concluding, to learn more about ReCAAP's Q1 2020 report, click herebelow

Piracy and armed robbery in Asia Q1 January March 2020