Asian Piracy Increased by Nineteen Percent in 2017


Published Jan 16, 2018 5:54 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) has released its annual report for 2017 highlighting that there was a 19 percent increase in the number of incidents over 2016 figures.

There were 101 incidents in 2017 of which 12 were failed attempts reported in the region compared to 85 in 2016. Of the incidents reported in 2017, the majority, 85 (84 percent), were armed robbery against ships, while 16 (16 percent) were piracy incidents. Two-thirds of the incidents occurred at anchor/berth (68 incidents), while one-third of the incidents occurred on board ships while underway (33 incidents). Ship stores, engine spares and unsecured items on board ships were the most commonly stolen items. 

Of the 89 actual incidents reported, 31 occurred on board tankers, 22 on board bulk carriers, 13 on board container ships, 12 on board tug boats, six on board offshore supply vessels and one each on board a fishing trawler, general cargo ship, heavy transport vessel, research ship and supply vessel.

There was a decrease in number of incidents at ports and anchorages in India, Malaysia and Vietnam compared to 2016, and there was a decrease in the number of incidents of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas in 2017 (three incidents) compared to 2016 (10 incidents). There was a decline in the number of the most severe incidents (CAT 1) in 2017 compared to the past three years (2014-2016). These incidents reduced by more than 50 percent in 2017 (six incidents) compared to 2016 (13 incidents).

There was an increase in incidents at ports and anchorages in Chittagong and off Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh (11 incidents) as well as at Batangas and Manila, in the Philippines (17 incidents). There was also an increase in the number of incidents in the South China Sea (12) and the Straits of Malacca & Singapore (nine).

 Over the last 10 years, there has been an average of 13 percent piracy incidents against 87 percent armed robbery incidents. Conforming to past trends observed during 2013-2016, majority of the actual incidents reported in 2017 involved perpetrators in groups of four to six men.  

“While the number of incidents in 2017 continue 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,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.