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Home News ReCAAP ISC reports significant rise in ship robberies in Asian waters

ReCAAP ISC reports significant rise in ship robberies in Asian waters

Asian waters saw a 13% rise in armed robbery and ship piracy in January-September this year against the same period in 2021.

During this nine-month period, 62 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported compared to 55 incidents reported during January-September 2021, says ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), an inter-governmental agency that works on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The bulk of increase in incidents occurred in the Singapore Strait where 41 incidents were reported during the nine months in comparison with 27 incidents during the same period in 2021.

“The situation in the Singapore Strait remains an area of concern,” said ReCAAP ISC.

It, however, noted there has been a decrease in the number of incidents in the waters of India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

The ReCAAP ISC said there was no incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah during the period.

Data shows that Bangladesh saw four incidents in the first nine months of 2022, compared to no incidents same period last year.

The majority of the incidents reported in Asia are armed robberies against ships. The data of the 16-year period of January-September of 2007-2022, shows that the number of piracy incidents fluctuated each year, with an average of 11% for piracy incidents and 89% for armed robbery against ships.

Of the 62 incidents reported during the period January-September 2022, 16 incidents (26%) occurred to ships while at anchor/berth and 46 incidents (74%) occurred to ships while underway.

ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Straights, in particular, the cluster of incidents off Tanjung Pergam, Bintan Island (Indonesia), Pulau Nongsa, Batam Island (Indonesia) and the increasing cluster off Pulau Karimun Kecil (Indonesia).

The Centre had issued three incident alerts in January-September 2022. The regional inter-governmental body has urged the littoral States of the Singapore Strait to continue to increase surveillance and enforcement in their internal water, territorial seas and archipelagic waters; and respond promptly to incidents.

“The littoral states are encouraged to promote cooperation and coordination for patrols and information sharing on incidents and criminal groups involved in order to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators,” ReCAAP ISC pointed out.

While transiting the Singapore Straights or area of concern, the ship masters and crew are advised to heighten vigilance and proactively adopt measures to prevent boarding by the perpetrators.

They are asked to maximise vigilance, lookouts for suspicious small boats and increase watchkeeping, particularly for crew on board tug boats towing barges during daylight, and for crew on board bigger ships during night time.

Additionally, they are advised to keep the CCTV and other devices including communication equipment operational to alert the ship crew and record the movement of perpetrators and to keep close all doors and hatches having direct access to the bridge, accommodation, store rooms, steering gear compartment and engine room.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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