Asia records 8 piracy, sea robbery in August

Asia records 3 armed robbery attacks against ships in January

Illustrative picture. PHOTO: SHIPS & PORTS archive

A total of eight incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in August 2019. Of the total, two were piracy incidents and six were incidents of armed robbery against ships, according to the regional piracy watchdog ReCAAP.

Compared to August 2018 when a total of nine incidents were reported, the latest numbers show an 11% decrease in the number of incidents for August 2019.

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 August 2019.

However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah “remains a serious concern,” ReCAAP noted. Concerns were also raised about the increase in the number of incidents on board tug boats towing barges while underway in the Singapore Strait.

In August 2019, three incidents of armed robbery against ships occurred in close proximity to each other in the western sector of the strait. The three incidents occurred to tug boats towing barges and were boarded while they were underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

The remaining five incidents took place on board ships at anchor/berth in Indonesia, South China Sea and Vietnam.

For the period of January-August 2019, a total of 44 incidents, comprising 40 actual and four attempted incidents, were reported in Asia. Of the 44 incidents, 39 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and five were piracy incidents.

Year-on-year, this number dropped by 25% compared to a total of 59 incidents, 45 actual and 14 attempted incidents, that were reported during January-August 2018.