A total of 10 incidents of robbery onboard ships were reported in Asia in January 2015, piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC said in its latest report.
Of the 10 incidents reported in January 2015, two were Category 1 (very significant) incidents, three were Category 2 (moderately significant) incidents, one was a Category 3 (less significant) incident and four were petty theft (minimum significant) incidents.
Both Category 1 incidents occurred onboard chemical tankers carrying fuel.
The first incident involved Sun Birdie, where the perpetrators boarded the tanker off Malaysia, but were later apprehended by the Malaysian Maritme Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
The second incident involved the hijacking of MT ‘Rehobot’ which is still missing.
According to ReCAAP, the attack tactics of the pirates is consistent with the trend noted in 2014, when bigger vesselsn loaded with cargoesn were boarded in the eastbound lane of Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), as they tend to slow down while navigating the bend at the congested straits.
The vessels were particularly vulnerable during hours of darkness (0350-0630 hrs), the report shows.
“While the number of incidents involving siphoning of ship fuel/oil at sea continued, no successful siphoning was reported since November 2014 till January 2015; and this was attributed to timely reporting by the shipping industry, vigilance exercised by master and crew, enhanced enforcement and speedy responses by the authorities,” ReCAAP pointed out.
“As half of the total number of incidents reported in January 2015 occurred onboard bulk carriers, container ships and tug boats towing barges while underway in the TSS of Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), this warrants continuous enforcement and surveillance by the littoral States; and exercising of extra vigilance by master and crew,” the piracy watchdog added.