ReCAAP notes a 25% year-on-year decline in sea robberies and piracy in Asian waters — the lowest in a decade. Although incidents decreased in the high-risk Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, crew abduction remains a serious issue, it warned.
A total of 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery, comprising 62 actual and 14 attempted incidents, were reported in Asia last year
SEA robbery and piracy incidents in Asia have hit the lowest level in a decade in 2018, according to a report from the Singapore-based Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, known as ReCAAP.
A total of 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were reported in Asia between January to December last year, comprising 62 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents, ReCAAP said.
Of these incidents, four were incidents of piracy, while 72 were armed robbery against ships.
This represents a decrease of 25% year on year in the total number of incidents and a 31% decrease in actual incidents compared with 2017.
Although there were improvements at some ports and anchorages in 2018, particularly at the Manila anchorage in the Philippines, more than ten incidents at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Indonesia were reported. The number of incidents also increased slightly in Malaysia and Vietnam last year.
Activity also fell in the high-risk Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, where the number of incidents fell from seven in 2017 to three in 2018. Despite the respite, ReCAAP emphasised that the abduction of crew for ransom still remains a serious threat in the area.
Meanwhile, there was no theft of oil cargo in 2018, while there were two incidents of suspicious intent to steal oil cargo reported in June and August last year.
“While ReCAAP ISC welcomes the recent downward trend in the number of incidents of piracy and sea robbery in Asia, we urge the law enforcement/regulatory authorities and shipping industry to continue the vigilance and cooperation that has led to the decrease,” executive director of ReCAAP Masafumi Kuroki said.
“In Asia, more than 90% of the incidents are armed robbery against ships, which occur in territorial waters of the Coastal States. Therefore, the ownership and efforts of the Coastal States in deterring, detecting, and apprehending perpetrators is vital in reducing the number of incidents in Asia, as are the vigilance and preventive measures by ships,” Mr Kuroki concluded.