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Poor socio-economic conditions, climate change likely driving SE Asia ship robberies

Photo: Marcus Hand Krishnaswamy Natarajan, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC
Krishnaswamy Natarajan, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC
The number of armed robberies against ship in Asia was up 40% at 59 in the first half of the year according to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, with the Singapore and Malacca Straits accounting for two-thirds.

Of the 41 incidents in the Singapore and Malacca Straits some 38 were in the Singapore Straits and three in the Malacca Straits.

Of the 59 incidents of armed robbery against ships reported in Asia the majority were opportunistic and of low severity with perpetrators aiming to steal ship stores, scrap metal, and spare parts. In two of the incidents crew were injured and in another 16 knives were used. In the remaining 40 incidents the perpetrators were not armed, and in 12 nothing was stolen.

ReCAAP described the Singapore and Malacca Straits as an area for concern. Nearly two-thirds of the ships boarded in the busy waterway were bulk carriers while sailing and 87% of incidents happened during hours of darkness.

Commenting on the increase in incidents ReCAAP ISC Executive Director, Krishnaswamy Natarajan, said “The increase in incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore is likely due to the socio-economic situation worsened by the pandemic, lower fish catch due to climate change as also the prevailing Southwest monsoon. These factors may have led the locals of the Strait to turn to sea robbery and petty crimes to make ends meet.


“I urge the law enforcement agencies of coastal States to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to reports of incidents,” he added.

Vessels transiting the area strongly advised to enhance vigilance.

TAGS: Asia Dry Bulk