Asian maritime crimes at 12-month low, says ReCAAP

The number of incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia has reached its lowest level in February 2016 when compared to the previous twelve months, according to the latest report from Asian piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC.

There was a total of three incidents reported, none of which was related to piracy. Furthermore, there were no incidents involved hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo during the month.

All incidents were of Category 4, meaning that they involved perpetrators who were not armed and escaped immediately after realising that they have been sighted by the crew. In two incidents ship stores were stolen, while the third one did not result in any thefts.

“Coupled with the decrease in the number of incidents was also a reduction in the severity level of incidents. Notably, no incident involving hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo had been reported since September 2015. Also, there was no report of unauthorised boarding in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) since November 2015,” ReCAAP said.

Out of the three incidents reported, two occurred on board ships while they were anchored in India, namely, in Kandla’s Tuna Buoy anchorage and Kolkata’s Haldia Dock Complex, while the third incident involved a ship which was underway in the Gulf of Khambat off Gadhula, India.

Due to an increase in incidents at certain ports and anchorages in India reported during January 2016, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) intensified its sea patrolling activities, especially in the evening hours.

ReCAAP ISC said that, while there has been an improvement, “more needs to be done at certain ports and anchorages in India where the port authorities along with the state marine police and relevant enforcement agencies need to enhance their surveillance, and ship masters and crew to maintain stringent watch-keeping while their ships are anchored/berthed there”.

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