Attacks against ships drop to 12-year low in Asia

Asia records 3 armed robbery attacks against ships in January
Illustrative picture. PHOTO CREDIT: SHIPS & PORTS archive

Piracy and armed robbery at sea has dropped to lowest in 12 years with a total of 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships comprising nine actual incidents and one attempted incident were reported in Asia in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC). 

ReCAAP ISC said the incidents recorded during January-March 2019 were 52% lower than the 21 incidents, comprising 15 actual incidents and six attempted incidents, recorded during January-March 2018. 

The Asia piracy watchdog said the number of actual incidents also decreased by 40% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018. 

According to ReCAAP ISC, “Both the total number of incidents and number of actual incidents reported during January-March 2019 are the lowest among the period of January-March of 13-year (2007-2019).
“The nine actual incidents reported during January-March 2019 were less severe incidents with one CAT 3 incident and eight CAT 4 (petty theft) incidents
“There were no severe incidents such as CAT 1 and CAT 2.
“All incidents reported during January-March 2019 were armed robbery against ships; no piracy incident was reported,” the regional body said in a press release it issued on Tuesday. 

It said there were improvements at some ports and anchorages in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

“The improvement was most apparent at the ports and anchorages in Indonesia; with three incidents reported in Indonesia during January-March 2019 compared to nine incidents during the same period in 2018. 

“There were also improvements at the ports and anchorages in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.

“No were reported at these ports/anchorages during January-March 2019 compared to three incidents reported in Bangladesh and two incidents each in India and Vietnam during January-March 2018. 

“There was no incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah during January- March 2019.

“Despite the improvement of the situation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, the abduction of crew for ransom remains a serious threat in the area.
“Shipping companies are advised to follow the ReCAAP ISC’s Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 and maintain close communication with the contact centres of the national reporting centres,” the piracy watchdog stated.