By Jite Eriabie
There was a 19 percent increase in the number of piracy incidents against ships in Asia reported in 2017 when compared to figures from 2016, according to regional piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC.
A total of 101 incidents, comprising 89 actual and 12 attempted incidents, were reported in 2017 compared to 85 incidents in 2016. These included 85 cases of armed robbery against ships and 16 piracy incidents.
The annual statistics and analysis were shared at the 9th Nautical Forum held today in Singapore, jointly organized by ReCAAP ISC, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Shipping Association.
“While the number of incidents in 2017 continues to be among the lowest in the past decade, the increase that occurred over the last year is a reminder that there is no room for complacency in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships, and underscores the need for enhanced vigilance among all stakeholders,” Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, said.
“The capacity of the maritime enforcement authorities is critical in dealing with the threat of piracy and sea robbery, and ReCAAP ISC will continue to work with our focal points and other enforcement agencies through our capacity building programs to help them become more effective,” Kuroki added.
A decline has been noticed in terms of the severity of the type of incidents when compared to the past three years.
The number of CAT 1 incidents has dropped by more than 50 pct in 2017 with 6 incidents recorded, compared to 13 incidents reported in 2016.
However, there are numerous areas of concern, including the continued occurrence of abduction of crew in the Sulu and Celebes seas, with three incidents reported in 2017 compared to 10 in 2016.
In addition, an increase in incidents has been reported in ports and anchorages in Chittagong and off Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh, Batangas and Manila, Philippines, South China Sea and Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
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