Asia piracy cases rise 22% on year to hit 10-year high in 2014

The number of piracy and armed robbery cases against ships in Asia increased 22% year on year to hit a 10-year of 183 last year, anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP said in its annual report released last week.

Of the total 183 incidents reported in 2014, more than a quarter were in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, or ReCAAP, said in its report released Monday.

It was the highest number recorded by ReCAAP since its inception — it came into force in 2006 and was formally recognized as an international organization in January 2007.

While 45 of the incidents last year related to piracy, the rest were categorized as armed robbery, the report said.

More than 90% of the attempts by pirates and armed robbers resulted in actual incidents in 2014 compared with 80% five years ago, according to ReCAAP data.

This indicates a higher success rate for criminals.

Of particular concern was Category I, or “very significant” incidents including those involving siphoning of ship fuel and oil from tankers, which for the first time rose above 10, the data showed. All 13 Category 1 incidents were related to siphoning of ship fuel and oil cases, of which 11 were successful, ReCAAP said.

There has been an increase in the number of incidents reported in the South Asian region in 2014 compared to 2013, due to more armed robberies in Bangladesh.

The number of such incidents have also risen in Southeast Asia, due to manifold increases in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca and Singapore, which has offset the decline in Indonesia.

“Improvements occurred at certain ports and anchorages in Indonesia, such as Belawan, Dumai, Pulau Nipa and Samarinda, which reported an overall decline of 50% in 2014 compared with the year earlier,” ReCAAP said.

The watchdog urged the littoral states to clamp down on illegal siphoning activities through enforcement initiatives such as extension of joint coordinated patrols to areas of concern and arrest the culprits to serve as deterrence.



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