ReCAAP: Piracy Incidents in Asia at Five-Year High

The number of piracy incidents reported in 2014 in Asia, a total of 183, is the highest recorded figure in the five-year reporting period (2010-2014), piracy watchdog ReCAAP said in its latest annual report.

The figure represents a 22% increase compared to 2013, when 150 incidents were reported.

Out of 183 reported incidents, 168 were actual incidents and 15 were attempted attacks.

Of the actual incidents in 2014, 102 incidents (61%) occurred onboard ships at anchor and at berth. These incidents occurred at ports and anchorages in Indonesia (39), SCS (23), Bangladesh (14), India (11), Vietnam (6), Philippines (5) and Malaysia (4).

The number of incidents reported in the South Asian region in 2014 has increased compared to 2013 figures, mostly due to a rise in piracy activity in Bangladesh.

Notably, the number of incidents reported in the Southeast Asian region was the highest in 2014 during the 2010-2014 reporting period.

Compared to 2013, this is a 15% increase, mainly in the South China Sea (SCS) and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS.) The number of incidents reported in these two areas had tripled in 2014 compared to 2013, the report shows.

Most of these were less significant and petty theft incidents onboard ships while underway in SOMS and onboard ships while anchored/berthed in the SCS.

These incidents involved perpetrators who were opportunistic in nature, did not harm or treat the crew with violence; and entailed little or no economic loss as the perpetrators escaped immediately when the crew was alerted.  Such incidents resulted in the perpetrators escaping empty-handed in 55% of the cases in SOMS and 65% of incidents in the SCS.

The report shows that there have been improvements at certain ports and anchorages in Indonesia, such as Belawan, Dumai, Pulau Nipa and Samarinda, which reported an overall decline of 50% in 2014 compared to 2013.

With regard to the gravity of the incidents, the report indicates that 13 (7%) were Category 1 (very significant) incidents, 41 (23%) were Category 2 (moderately significant) and 114 (62%) were Category 3 (less significant) and petty theft (minimum significant) incidents.

Of the 13 Category 1 incidents, 11 incidents were siphoning of ship fuel/oil by perpetrators who boarded the ship to siphon the ship manifest of fuel/oil.

Most of these incidents were Category 1 in nature because the perpetrators were armed with guns and knives; involved larger group of men who took control of the ship; threatened, tied and locked the crew in the cabin; siphoned the fuel/oil onboard the ship to another tanker/barge that came alongside; and before escaping, destroyed the ship’s communication and navigational equipment and took the crew’s cash and personal belongings.

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