A total of six incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in July 2019, according to ReCAAP ISC’s annual report. Of the six incidents, one was piracy and five were armed robberies against ships. The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported during January-July 2019 has decreased by 32% compared to January-July 2018.
Both the total number of incidents and the number of actual incidents reported during January-July 2019 are the lowest among the 13-year period of January-July of 2007-2019.
The decrease in the number of incidents was most apparent at the ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in July 2019.
However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern, the report reads.
Key figures July 2019
- In July 2019, six actual incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported.
- Compared to July 2018, there was a 33% decrease in the number of incidents. A total of nine incidents were reported in July 2018 compared to six incidents in July 2019.
Key figures January-July 2019
- During January-July 2019, a total of 34 incidents (31 actual incidents and three attempted incidents) were reported in Asia.
- Of the 34 incidents, 31 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and three were piracy incidents.
- A total of 50 incidents (38 actual incidents and 12 attempted incidents) were reported during January-July 2018, representing a 32% decrease in the total number of incidents reported during January-July 2019.
- The number of actual incidents has also decreased by 18%.
- The improvement of the situation during January-July 2019 can be attributed to the improvement at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
- No incident was reported at Bangladesh’s ports and anchorages during January-July 2019 compared to eight incidents reported at these ports and anchorages during the same period in 2018.
- The number of incidents at Indonesia’s ports and anchorages also decreased to 10 incidents (comprising eight actual and two attempted incidents) during January-July 2019 compared to 22 incidents (comprising 17 actual and five attempted incidents) during the same period in 2018.
- However, there was an increase in the number of incidents in the Singapore Strait during January-July 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
- A total of 11 actual incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait during January-July 2019 compared to seven incidents (comprising five actual and two attempted incidents) during the same period in 2018.
More need to be done regarding the situation involving tug boats towing barges while underway in the Singapore Strait. With the occurrence of 11 incidents in close proximity to each other within a period of six months, the ReCAAP ISC recommends that all ships, particularly tug boats to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting the area, and the law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance and increase patrols,
…ReCAAP ISC said.
- Both the total number of incidents and the number of actual incidents reported during January-July 2019 are the lowest among the 13-year period of January-July of 2007-2019.
Significance of incidents July 2019
- Of the six actual incidents reported in July 2019, one was a CAT 2 incident and five were CAT 4 incidents.
- The CAT 2 incident occurred in the South China Sea and the perpetrators were armed with guns and knives. They boarded the bulk carrier while underway, threatened the crew, stole cash from the ship’s safe and took the crew’s personal belongings. Two crew sustained minor injuries.
- Of the five CAT 4 incidents, three incidents occurred in the Singapore Strait and the other two incidents occurred at ports/anchorages off Batam, Indonesia and Lotus Port, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
- No CAT 1 incident was reported during January-July 2018.
- The number of CAT 3 and CAT 4 incidents have decreased during January-July 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
The ReCAAP ISC urges law enforcement agencies to continue to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to reports of incidents. Ships transiting areas of concern are to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain all round lookout for suspicious boats, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately, and implement preventive measures recommended in the “Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia”.
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