Asian Piracy at Ten-Year Low
ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre has released its January to June 2018 report, noting a 10-year low in Asian piracy and armed robbery and a 15 percent decrease in cases compared to the same period in 2017.
There were 40 incidents reported, with 11 of those being attempted cases. There were no incidents of abduction of crew or theft of oil cargo, despite attempts, and there was a decrease in the number of incidents at ports and anchorages in the Philippines. Additionally, there were successful arrests and cases of recovery of stolen items.
Some areas saw an increase in concerning activity: In the Singapore Strait, the number of incidents rose from two in 2017 to four in 2018. At ports and anchorages in Vietnam, the number of incidents rose from none to two.
The number of incidents that occurred in 2017 was an increase of 16 percent from 2015.
The report analysis includes an historical summary of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Of 122 incidents analyzed over the past 11 years, 111 incidents (91 percent) occurred in the Singapore Strait and 11 incidents (nine percent) in the Malacca Strait.
The majority of perpetrators operated in groups of four to six men (40 percent). 64 percent of the perpetrators were not armed (or it was not stated), while 30 percent were armed with knives or machetes. In 83 percent of the incidents, the crew were not injured.
In the Singapore Strait, more incidents occurred in the western sector than the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait (85 in western sector, 26 in eastern sector). Bulk carriers and tankers were mostly boarded in the eastbound lane of Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the western sector. Among tug boats/supply vessels boarded in both sectors, relatively more incidents occurred in the westbound lane of the TSS in the western sector.
There appeared to be a correlation between armed perpetrators and treatment of crew in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the western sector; i.e. the more heavily armed the perpetrators, the more violent they tended to be towards the crew.
There appeared to be a correlation between ship type and the type of loss:
• Engine spares tended to be the most common items stolen from bulk carriers and tankers in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the western sector
• Cash/property tended to be the most common items stolen from tug boats/supply vessels in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the western sector (northwest of Pulau Batam)
• Scrap metal tended to be the most common item stolen from barges towed by tug boats in the westbound lane of the TSS in the western sector.