Piracy in Asia declines to 13-year low in first quarter: ReCAAP

Incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have dropped to a 13-year low in the first quarter of this year, according to latest figures released by the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC).

During January to March 2019, a total of 10 incidents comprising nine actual incidents and one attempted incidents were reported in Asia, the lowest among the period of January-March since 2007.

The first quarter incidents were also down compared to 21 reported in the same period of last year.

Amongst the nine actual incidents reported in the first quarter, they were of less severe nature of mainly petty theft.

ReCAAP ISC pointed out that the area of concern was an increase in the number of incidents at some anchorages in China and incidents of theft of scrap metal from barges while underway in the Singapore Strait during January-March 2019.

"ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to the reports of incidents,” it stated.

Read more: Piracy incidents in Asia down, crew abduction remains ‘serious threat’: ReCAAP

On the other hand, the area of improvement was seen at the ports and anchorages in Indonesia with three incidents reported compared to nine in the year-ago period. There were also improvements at the ports and anchorages in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.

A further positive note is that there was no incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah during the first three months this year.

“Despite the improvement of the situation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, the abduction of crew for ransom remains a serious threat in the area,” ReCAAP ISC cautioned.

Posted 17 April 2019

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Lee Hong Liang

Asia Correspondent

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