Most Malacca Pirate Attacks are Insurance Scams

Indonesian Navy

Published Oct 28, 2015 6:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

A fleet commander in the Indonesian Navy has said that about 90 percent of piracy cases in the Malacca Strait area turn out to be bogus claims related to insurance fraud or business competition.

“The number of criminal cases in the Malacca Strait has declined. However, we believe there [must be a plot] to make the Malacca Strait the most dangerous strait in the world,” Rear Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrochman told reporters.

The Jakarta Post reports that both Indonesian citizens and other nationalities have been involved in claims made with ulterior motives. Taufiqoerrochman says the Navy plans to conduct a combined investigation with Malaysia, Vietnam and other neighboring countries to identify the beneficiaries of criminal activity in the Malacca Strait. 

The strait has received renewed media attention recently as a result of robbery and piracy. The Jakarta Post reported several incidents in the last week. On Wednesday last week, 12 armed men in two small boats attacked another boat and took 20 gallons of fuel. The navy managed to catch one of the boats and arrest its crew of four.

On Friday last week, the Navy arrested a suspected robber who had allegedly boarded a ship and stolen spare parts.

ReCAAP released its latest update on maritime piracy last week painting a longer-term picture of the situation. The report states that armed robbery and maritime crime continues to surge in Asia. There were 161 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported there in the first nine months of 2015, which represents a 25 percent increase in the total incidents compared to 2014.  

Of those 161 incidents, ReCAAP defines 92 of them as category four involving one to three perpetrators who were not reported to be armed and escaped empty-handed upon being sighted. The report says that 11 category one incidents occurred where nine or more armed pirates that successfully hijacked tankers or stole their cargo.